Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes

In 1960, ground cracks opened up within the town of Kapoho, followed by a fissure eruption nearby. Residents had superb views of lava rivers and fountains. Unfortunately, the lava began to slowly head towards town, destroying papaya fields along the way. Homeowners had plenty of time to evacuate, but all the stores and homes were burned and then covered by the lava. Scenes include the photographer rescuing his car from an advancing aa flow, the Kapoho schoolhouse burning, and the formation of black sand as lava enters the sea. Professional photographer Fred Rackle filmed the eruption with a B&H movie camera and a tripod. Decades later, he donated a narrated SVHS copy to CSAV, with permission to distribute. Now, 50 years after the eruption, we are pleased to honor Rackle by sharing this astonishing video with the world. Visit our new Fred Rackle web page, to learn details of this photographer's life and adventures, at hilo.hawaii.edu/~csav/rackle/Rackle.php

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Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes

Darcy Bevens

CSAV is based at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Since 1990, we have been providing educational and training programs about volcanoes and earthquakes. In the mid-1990's, we branched off and began educational programs about hurricanes, tsunamis, and…


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CSAV is based at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Since 1990, we have been providing educational and training programs about volcanoes and earthquakes. In the mid-1990's, we branched off and began educational programs about hurricanes, tsunamis, and other natural hazards as well.

Three UH-Hilo web sites (CSAV, Natural Hazards Hawaii, and Geology) have featured low-res photos and videos for years. We are currently rebuilding the videos in high-res, and as we do, they will appear on this channel. In addition, watch for periodic new videos of eruption conditions, tsunamis, and whatever else Mother Nature sends our way.

Current equipment: Sony DCR VX2100 Handycam & Sachtler tripod. Computer: Mac G5; editing with Final Cut Pro.

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