National Geographic : 1960 Mar
Life Cycle of a Fire-breathing Giant: From Gurgling Birth to Thundering Prime Kilauea Iki began its spectacular career at dark as a chain of cataracts (1) spurting from a 2,500 foot-long rift zone in the old volcano wall and tumbling in an incandescent Niagara. By morning only two fountains remained (2). Photographer Wenkam snapped their portrait at 50 yards. That night one of the vents died. The survivor (3), flexing its muscles at dawn on the fifth day, climbed to 700 feet. Celebrating its first week of life (4), the foun tain soared to 1,250 feet, shifted direction, and scattered spectators. Then, having raised the crater floor 335 feet, the monster subsided. On the twelfth day Kilauea Iki roared again (5), blowing a 1,000-foot fountain and loosing waves of glowing surf across the crater floor. After resting for a day, the jet reappeared (6), registering 1,600 feet on the National Park Serv ice's homemade height gauge. Next page WENKAM Kilauea Iki's Colossal Torch Sears the Sky With a climactic burst on November 29, the foun tain set a new altitude record for Hawaiian vol canoes. At times it reached 1,700 feet, nearly a third of a mile. Later it soared to even greater record-breaking heights, up to 1,900 feet. On January 13, 1960, Kilauea burst forth near Kapoho, some 25 miles to the east, forcing evacu ation of two villages.