Honolulu – Hawaii’s Mauna Loa, the world’s largest active volcano, has erupted for the first time in nearly 40 years, sending lava 100 to 200 feet (30 to 60 meters) high.
So far, lava has not threatened homes or communities, and no evacuation orders have been issued. Lava may take him a week or more before it reaches populated areas, but it may eventually reach the neighborhood as it flows down hills.
Mauna Loa spews out sulfur dioxide and other volcanic gases. They form volcanic smog or vog when mixed with steam, oxygen and dust in sunlight. As a result, state health officials are urging people to refrain from outdoor exercise and other activities that cause breathing difficulties.
Mauna Loa last erupted in 1984. Mauna Loa’s smaller and more active neighbor, Kilauea, has been erupting continuously for more than a year since September 2021.
Where is Mauna Loa?
Mauna Loa is one of five volcanoes that make up the island of Hawaii, the southernmost of the Hawaiian Islands. It’s not the tallest (it derives its name from Mauna Kea), but it’s the largest, taking up about half of the island’s land mass.
Located just north of the Kilauea volcano, the 2018 eruption famously destroyed 700 homes and sent lava rivers into farms and into the ocean.
Mauna Loa last erupted 38 years ago. The current eruption, in 1843, is the 34th in recorded history.
The Big Island is mostly rural, with ranches and coffee plantations, but also a few smaller cities, including the county seat of Hilo with a population of 45,000.
About 200 miles (320 kilometers) south of Hawaii’s most populous island, Oahu, it’s home to both the state capital of Honolulu and the beach resort of Waikiki.
Mauna Loa has an estimated volume of at least 18,000 square miles (75,000 square kilometers), making it the world’s largest volcano measured from seafloor to summit.
Where is Mauna Loa erupting from?
The eruption began Sunday night At the summit after a series of big earthquakes. It then spreads into vents that form in the rift valley where the mountains are splitting, making it easier for magma to emerge.
These vents are located on the northeastern side of the mountain, and the lava that erupts from them can be directed to Hilo on the eastern side of the island.
Ken Hong, a scientist at the Hawaii Volcano Observatory, said he doesn’t believe additional craters will form in the volcano’s southwest rift zone during this eruption. It means to escape the current.
Mauna Loa also erupted from the northeast in 1984. The lava then flowed toward Hilo, but stopped a few miles short of the city.
Historically, each Mauna Loa eruption lasted several weeks. Hong expects the current eruption to follow this pattern.
Mauna Loa is exploding like Mount Saint. Helen?
Mauna Loa didn’t explode like Mount St. Helens, Washington, which killed 57 people in 1980. that eruption The ash soared over 80,000 feet (24,384 meters) and sent rain 250 miles (400 kilometers) away.
The magma on Mount St. Helens is much stickier and tends to trap more gas, making it much more likely to explode as it rises. It is called a compound volcano and forms a concave cone.
Mauna Loa’s magma tends to be hotter, drier, and more fluid. This allowed magma gases to escape and lava to flow down the sides of the volcano. Mauna Loa is a shield volcano, so named for the long, broad sides formed by repeated lava flows that look like a warrior’s shield.
In 1989, another compound volcano, Redoubt Volcano in Alaska, Spit out an eight-mile cloud of ash It jammed all four engines of a KLM Royal Dutch Airlines jet. He fell 13,000 feet before all engines restarted, and the plane landed without injury to his 245 passengers.
This time, Mauna Loa released some ash, but on a much smaller scale than these examples from complex volcanoes.
What dangers does Mauna Loa’s eruption pose?
– Lava: Lava can cover homes, farms, or neighborhoods depending on where it flows. However, it will likely take at least a week for lava from the northeast rift to reach populated areas, allowing people to evacuate if necessary.
-Volcanic Gases: Mauna Loa emits volcanic gases, primarily sulfur dioxide. The gas is present in highest concentrations in the immediate vicinity of summit craters or vents.but they are formed by combining with other particles vogueit spreads throughout the Big Island of Hawaii and can even spread to other islands within the state.
Vog can cause burns, headaches and sore throats in healthy individuals. People with asthma and other respiratory problems can be sent to the hospital.
・Glass particles: When hot lava erupts from cracks and cools rapidly, form glass particles Named after the Hawaiian volcano goddess “Pele’s Hair” and “Pele’s Tears”.
According to Aaron Pietruska, an associate expert in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Hawaii, the particles don’t travel very far from the volcano’s crater, probably hundreds of yards or a mile or so, and they could have killed many people. Do not threaten.
“It literally looks like a hair, and is where the lava is stretched by the wind to form long, thin strands,” says Pietruschka.
The shards of glass are a few millimeters short to several inches long and can be sharp.
“You don’t want to dig your hands because you could cut yourself,” Pietruschka said.
An N95 or KF94 mask will protect against these glass particles, but not against volcanic gases, said Dr. Libby Char, director of the state health department.
At Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, you can see specimens of “Pele’s Hair” collected from the eruption of Kilauea Volcano.
How important are Mauna Loa’s greenhouse gas emissions?
According to USGS data, Mauna Loa released about 15,000 tons of carbon dioxide per day during its 1984 eruption.
Scientists say all volcanoes on Earth emit less than 1% of the carbon dioxide humans produce each year.
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https://www.ksat.com/tech/2022/11/29/explainer-what-hazards-are-posed-by-hawaiis-mauna-loa/ What dangers does Hawaii’s Mauna Loa pose?