It is believed that the beauty and the terror of this eruption at Mauna Loa will be greater than that of the earlier eruptions witnessed by those who are living. The lava will perhaps flow for a number of month more. In a letter to the Gazette newspaper from H. M. Whitney, it was said that the lava first appeared in the evening on the fifth of this month. It is thought that the crater from which the lava erupted was a little to the north of Mokuaweoweo, and it is about six miles from it. At times the lava shot up two hundred feet and crackled a bit, falling like burning charcoal. It is something remarkable to see. The night is overcome by the light of the fires. The lava flowed on the side of Mauna Loa facing Mauna Kea, and the unobstructed land lying between the two mountains is fifteen full miles in circumference is like a lake of blazing fire. It is something incomparably fierce to see. From this great lake of fire there appeared two lava flows. One that went down to the Puna and Kau side, and the second down the eastern side. According to the latest news, it is said that the lava nearly reached Volcano House [ka hale hookipa ma Kilauea]; it is only 10 miles away; as for the flow headed east, it is 15 miles from Hilo. But it is not believed that Hilo will face disaster. The kamaaina from there perhaps will not have forgotten the lava flows in the years 1855, 1859, and 1868, when people were anxious that their lives were in danger. But according to the old saying, “Aole i haawi ia o Hilo no Pele.” [Hilo shall not be given to Pele.]
The land is engulfed in smoke, and the crackling of lava can be heard like the sound of gun fire and the clap of thunder. The captain of the schooner Pauahi [D. L. Kaaina] said his ship was surrounded by smoke outside of Honokaa, and lava crackled in the ocean before his ship and after too; they were nearly in trouble.
A sightseer who went close to the lava said, it looked like a river of fire, 30 feet in length; just melted fire flowing like water. In the surrounding glow of the fire, in the middle of night, you can read. This eruption on Hawaii is one of the most famous stories of this year in the history of the world.
(Kuokoa, 11/27/1880, p. 3)