Water Found in Hawaiian Volcano – Is It Going To Blow?

The lava-spewing eruptions of the Kilauea volcano may be set for a reprise — scientists warn that the area could experience another dangerous eruption because a pond of water was discovered inside its summit crater, according to the National Park Service Although the water is not visible from public areas in the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) confirmed a growing pond of water inside Halema’uma’u crater during a helicopter overflight about two weeks ago.

Why This Matters:  When Kilauea erupted last year, it spewed lava that destroyed hundreds of homes on the Big Island (watch the video above for more).  The volcano has erupted continuously for nearly 35 years — Kilauea alternates between explosive and slow, steady lava flow periods — but with the added presence of water, the next explosive period (like the one last summer) could result in a massive collapse of the crater floor.  Janet Babb, a geologist with the Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, told CNN, “Until we have a better understanding of where the water is coming from, it’s difficult to forecast what could happen next.” The USGS stated that “Kīlauea remains an active volcano, and it will erupt again. Although we expect clear signs prior to the next eruption, the time frame of warning may be short.”  But for now, there are no signs of imminent danger according to The Park Service.

Volcanoes Are Unpredictable

The USGS will now try to get a sample of the water in the crater and perform a chemical analysis of it to better understand its source.

  • They will try to determine whether it is “a shallow accumulation of rainwater or the surface expression of a deeper-seated layer of groundwater. Some of the water could also be from condensed water vapor directly released by the magma. However, direct sampling is tricky given the hazardous location of the water.”
  • According to The Park Service, figuring out the source of the water will help the scientists to better understand the possible hazards associated with it.
  • “For instance, if the water is from the extensive zone of groundwater around the crater, it could be more likely to interact with rising magma and result in explosive activity.”

“According to the Geological Survey, explosive eruptions can occur when the magma column drops below the water table (the level below in which the ground is saturated with water), groundwater interacts with hot rocks, or steam pressure builds and then explodes,”  CNN explained.

H/T to FOP Kurt B!

Up Next

Trump Outdoor Recreation Advisory Committee Recommends Privatizing Campgrounds

Trump Outdoor Recreation Advisory Committee Recommends Privatizing Campgrounds

The Hill reports that an advisory committee recommended to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt that he should privatize campgrounds within national parks, cut benefits for senior visitors, and allow food trucks into Parks as a way to bring increase money coming into the Parks system, according to the panel’s memo.

Why This Matters:  This recommendation is likely to be extremely divisive — with environmental groups and advocates for seniors arguing that this is likely to hurt low and middle-income Americans and benefit the President’s rich benefactors. 

 

Continue Reading 429 words
Dry Farming, an Ancient Practice, Helps Farmers Adapt to Climate Change

Dry Farming, an Ancient Practice, Helps Farmers Adapt to Climate Change

As climate change continues to alter rainfall and water sources for farmers across the country, some farmers are turning to an ancient farming technique called dry farming to help cope with the changes. As Oregon Public Radio reported, dry farming relies on the moisture that’s stored in the soil from winter rainwater. It’s successful in […]

Continue Reading 448 words
Tribes Fighting Trump Administration Policies That Harm Native Sites

Tribes Fighting Trump Administration Policies That Harm Native Sites

Native American tribes are using litigation, lobbying and protests to push back against Trump administration policies that would damage their lands and their way of life.

Why This Matters:  Native American tribes are uniquely positioned to challenge some of the Trump administration’s most aggressive moves to develop (timber harvest, mining, oil and gas drilling) on federal lands.  Often these cases are thrown out because the plaintiffs are found not to have a sufficient “interest” in or connection to the government’s action — but when it comes to the destruction of sacred sites, that argument really does not work.  And once these lands and sacred sites are spoiled by development, they cannot be restored.  

 

Continue Reading 520 words