Hawaiian Eruptions
in Recorded

Hawaii has a brief written history, extending back only about 200 years, compared to such volcanic regions as Iceland, Indonesia, Italy, and Japan. Written accounts exist for most Hawaiian eruptions since 1820, when the first American missionaries settled in Hawaii. Descriptions of earlier eruptions are sketchier, because they are based only on interpretations of ancient Hawaiian chants and stories told by Hawaiian elders and early European residents to the American missionaries.

All the known historic Hawaiian eruptions have been at Mauna Loa and Kilauea Volcanoes except for the following: the 1790? (year uncertain) eruption of Haleakala Volcano on Maui, and the 1800-1801 eruption of Hualalai Volcano, on the west coast of the Big Island. Although an exception to the overall northwest-southeast shift of volcanic activity, a series of submarine eruptions also probably occurred in 1955-56 between the islands of Oahu and Kauai and near Necker Island, about 350 miles northwest of Kauai.

Kilauea erupts On March 30, 1984, both Kilauea and Mauna Loa were in simultaneous eruption, the first time since 1924. Kilauea's Pu'u 'O'o eruption began its 17th high-fountaining episode since January 1983 (above photograph by Kepa Maly, National Park Service) and a Mauna Loa eruption, which began on March 25, continued to feed a major lava flow that advanced toward the city of Hilo (bottom photograph by Scott Lopez, National Park Service.)

Mauna Loa erupts

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Maintained by John Watson
Updated 05.01.97