Thursday, January 26, 2023

There's a First Time For Everything...

Mid-January, 2023: Holy Toledo Batman! That's not possible. But I'll be the first to admit that I never thought I'd live to see the day that I witnessed a active volcano. Yet I did get the opportunity this month when we were vacationing on The Big Island in Hawaii. Locals had recommended to travel there at night to get the full perspective of color with a bright orange lava flow steaming before your very eyes. Plus, seeing the volcano was free with no park admission cost or parking fee. We were encouraged to visit and loaded our rental car and off we went. About half mile from the Kilauea Volcano the sky was lit up above while guiding us toward our destination combined with the fragrance of burnt sulfur in the air. Once we were there, we hiked down a trail that was several hundred yards from parking lot and fortunately the path had small lamps embedded in the ground to guide you in the dark. Plus, we carried our handy-dandy flashlight for reassurance. Upon arriving at the overlook, it was fascinating to view. You could actually hear the steaming lava as it bubbled into the atmosphere. Below is some additional facts as listed from Wikipedia: 

Kīlauea is an active shield volcano in the Hawaiian Islands. Located along the southeastern shore of the Big Island of Hawaii, the volcano is between 210,000 and 280,000 years old and emerged above sea level about 100,000 years ago.

This eruption at Kīlauea's summit is occurring within a closed area of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. High levels of volcanic gas are the primary hazard of concern, as this hazard can have far-reaching effects downwind. Large amounts of volcanic gas—primarily water vapor (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), and sulfur dioxide (SO2)—are continuously released during eruptions of Kīlauea Volcano. As SO2 is released from the summit, it reacts in the atmosphere to create the visible haze known as vog (volcanic smog) that has been observed downwind of Kīlauea. Vog creates the potential for airborne health hazards to residents and visitors, damages agricultural crops and other plants, and affects livestock. 

Additional hazards include Pele's hair and other lightweight volcanic glass fragments from lava fountains that will fall downwind and dust the ground within a few hundred meters (yards) of the erupting fissure vent(s). Strong winds may waft lighter particles to greater distances. Residents should minimize exposure to these volcanic particles, which can cause skin and eye irritation. 

Other significant hazards also remain around Kīlauea caldera  from Halemaʻumaʻu crater wall instability, ground cracking, and rockfalls that can be enhanced by earthquakes within the area closed to the public. This underscores the extremely hazardous nature of the rim surrounding Halemaʻumaʻu crater, an area that has been closed to the public since early 2008. 

 Copyright (c) Phillip Rauls 2023 - Content Protected - Duplication Restricted  


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