Friday, October 27, 2017

Mauna Loa Update

Today the weather was great for gardening -- a bit of sun but not too much, a nice breeze, no rain. But instead I headed to the volcano update over at the Kahuku  section of Volcanoes National Park. Nothing like living on the slope of an active volcano to make one interested in what the volcano is up to. 

The presentation gave a nice, brief overview of the most recent past eruptions, the various map updates, an explanation of the magma movement, the earthquake and deformation trends, and tidbits of important info so that area residents have enough knowledge to make decisions. Decisions about bug out bags, if one would have enough time to get back home from work or errands, evacuation or care plans about children and pets, what to expect "if ....."

Best of all, the volcanologist explained things in language we could really understand. Plus there were plenty of graphics explaining and showing the mountain from perspectives us non-volcanologists never get a chance to explore. 

I felt that most of the audience came away pretty well informed. I know surely did. 

This volcano is really interesting. Because it is increasingly intensely monitored, the scientists are learning more and more about it every year. At this point, they have a good sense what the signs are of a pending eruption, which way the lava would most likely flow depending upon where it breaks out and how it travels, how quickly it would flow down the mountain. It's pretty scary to know that there are times where the lava could travel from the eruption site to the ocean in only 3 hours. Yes, THREE hours. That doesn't give people much time to get out of its way. So good evacuation plans are imperative. Yes, danger exists. Back during the 1868 eruption, seceral Hawaiians got surrounded by the flow and were trapped. Happily they were rescued. And during the latest Mauna Loa eruption, lava came close to Hilo....

The above photo was taken from the Hilo airport, looking up the slope of the volcano. Yes, this volcano needs to be taken seriously! 

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