From the eruption 99 years ago, 1919.


According to the news in the Hilo Tribune newspaper from Tom C. White [Toma C. White] of Kainaliu, he reported on what he and some others witnessed of the activity of the lava these days. The lava is spouting with force from the Mauna Loa side, and it is about 7,150 feet from sea level, and the lava is spewing from six places from the side of the mountain, but these craters are joining together into a large caldera, and from this caldera, the lava flowing out into four branches. One branch is flowing on the road of Papa, or perhaps Honomalino, and there are two branches flowing on the road of Opihali, and one branch on the land of Kaapuna. The flow from the caldera is quick, but maybe it is because the flow is split into four branches that the force of the flow is greatly reduced after passing a bit beyond the caldera. The place where this caldera is churning the lava is upon the land of Kaapuna, and it is terribly close to the land of Alika, and it is nearly three miles from where the lava first emerged on the seaside of Alika.

The lava is creeping very slowly, but it is wiping out the koa forests and the ohia in its path; and the fine grazing lands are being covered, and the ranch land where the animals of a Portuguese man of Keei are kept, and whose name is John Deniz, is half covered over by blazing lava; the land owned by Mrs. Carrie Robinson of Honolulu also is land greatly covered by blazing lava. In the estimation of Tom White and those who went up with him, the branch flowing to the sea of Opihali is almost 13 miles from the government road, and the branch flowing to the sea of Kaapuna is about eight miles from the government road, and the branch flowing to the sea of Papa of Honomalino perhaps has not at all reached the area called Puu Keokeo. Because of the branching of the lava flow into three branches is one of the reasons for the great weakening of the flow, even if the flow from the caldera from the mountain side is very powerful.  At a point when this lava-viewing tour was observing the activity of the earth-devouring lava, the lava threw up a rock into the sky approximately 300 feet. As for the second branch flowing on the land of Opihali, there is only one branch flowing from the crater, but after about 350 feet from the crater, it divided into two branches, and that is perhaps why the flow of those branches weakened to the sea of Opihali. In the opinion of Thomas White and those accompanying him in this climb, were it but one branch flowing like that branch on the land of Alika, it would have flowed in the same way to the sea, and because of the branching of the lava flow into four branches, is why the flow of the lava is weakened; being that the flow from the caldera is approximated as nearly forty miles an hour. It is hoped that the flow will cease before it reaches the government road and  maybe devastate homes on the path that it flows. Those included on this trip to see the lava with Thomas White were Mr. and Mrs. A. K. Magoon, Charles K. Akaona, Naluahine Kaopua, George McKinely, William Wright, Ikaika Aona, Moses Aiana, and James On Tai their guide, and accompanied by a Japanese photographer.

Perhaps we will hear soon of the ceasing of this flow by Pele in the coming days, for  there is great activity in the crater of Kilauea, and in the opinion of some old-timers, if the power returns to the crater of Kilauea, then the fires of Mokuaweoweo will extinguish.

[I wonder if those pictures by that unnamed Japanese man still exist somewhere!]

(Hoku o Hawaii, 10/23/1919, p. 2)


Ka Hoku o Hawaii, Buke XIII, Helu 21, Aoao 2. Okatoba 23, 1919.

1 thought on “From the eruption 99 years ago, 1919.

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