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Friday, January 3, 2003



SPECIAL REPORT:  KILAUEA'S 20-YEAR ERUPTION
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KEN IGE / KIGE@STARBULLETIN.COM
With the help of helicopter pilot David Okita, geologist Tim Orr took a sample of lava from a skylight at the upper section of the Mother's Day flow. A hammer tied to the end of a steel cable was used to get the lava. The molten lava was immediately dunked in water and the sample cracked off. Puu Oo vent looms in the background.




Hot stuff

The observatory marks the eruption
anniversary with a slew of events

Flow history


By Rod Thompson
rthompson@starbulletin.com

HILO >> The eruption's birthday is today; the party is tomorrow.

On this day 20 years ago, Kilauea volcano's east rift broke open and began a series of eruptive events that have varied in location, intensity and duration but never stopped for more than a temporary rest.


SPECIAL REPORT:  KILAUEA'S 20-YEAR ERUPTION
KILAUEA'S 20-YEAR ERUPTION
SPECIAL REPORT

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In recognition of the anniversary, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory invite the public to a free open house with 27 events from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow.

Several thousand people are expected, said ranger Mardie Lane.

Those visitors will be following in the footsteps of people like Thomas Jaggar, the geologist who was so shocked by the death of 28,000 people in the 1902 eruption of Mount Pelee in the Caribbean that he founded the observatory at Kilauea in 1912 to learn how to prevent deaths from volcanoes.

Jaggar visited other volcanoes around the world, but only Kilauea offered continuous eruptions for long-term studies.

Tomorrow, scientists will give a series of talks on how they have done those studies in the past 20 years. At the edge of current lava fields, geologist Jim Kauahikaua will demonstrate instruments such as an earth conductivity meter that detects lava flowing underground.

While today's visitors can drive to lava flows, the British world traveler Isabella Bird had to ride a horse to Kilauea during her 1873 visit. With a guide walking ahead of her, Bird hiked down into the bubbling Halemaumau fire pit, impossible today because the pit is much deeper.

Bird described the lava as producing "much hissing and throbbing internal roaring as of imprisoned gasses," said University of Hawaii-Hilo drama professor Jackie Pualani Johnson, who will give readings from Bird's account.

Bird fell through lava crusts several times and shredded her dog-skin gloves. But she lived to tell about the adventure.

Others did not, such as a visiting photographer in 1924 and some of Kona chief Keoua's army in 1790, killed in both instances by steam explosions.

Volcano observatory head Don Swanson will lead two tours showing the remaining evidence of those explosions.

Other open-house offerings are hands-on experiences with rocks and microscopes for children at the observatory and bird-watching walks through Bird Park, a lush island of vegetation that has escaped lava destruction for more than 1,500 years.

Admission to the park is free, and the observatory, normally closed to the public, will be open for tours. More information is available at www.nps.gov/havo/schedule.htm.


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Flow history

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Click on the picture above for a larger picture.




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KEN IGE / KIGE@STARBULLETIN.COM
The eruption shifted to Puu Oo, above, on Feb. 17, 1992, after a six-year hiatus. It had been spewing from Kupaianaha.




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KEN IGE / KIGE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Coconut trees have been planted by Robert Keliihoomalu and friends and family to regenerate Kalapana.






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