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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.
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.
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer The Department of the Interior announced Friday that it will use funds allocated by a conservation bill passed last year to fund 165 national park improvement projects that will create nearly 19,000 jobs. The Biden administration has pledged to protect 30% of public lands and waters by 2030, but accomplishing that means completing deferred maintenance […]
The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced late last week a new pricing structure for its federal flood insurance program. The federal government has been subsidizing flood insurance for people in areas defined by the government as flood-prone — the new pricing takes into account the actual risk to people’s homes.
Why This Matters: The prior system was inequitable and FEMA says its new system will mean that low-income people with less valuable homes will pay only their fair share.
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer On Tuesday, a coalition of conservation organizations signed a letter to the Interior Department Secretary Deb Haaland, urging her to deny Burnett Oil Company’s requests to drill for oil in Big Cypress National Preserve which is a part of the Greater Everglades. “The proposed oil extraction activities would be […]
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