More than three weeks after the Kilauea volcano first exploded, the situation is going from bad to worse as the big Island is being beseiged with new explosions which are destroying more neighborhoods.
Hundreds of residents have evacuated from lower Puna as advancing flows threaten homes and a key access point which is the only access road in the area.
In Leilani Estates, residents in a mandatory evacuation zone have been told by authorities that they must get out or they will face arrest and/or fines. The evacuation order covers the area from Pomaikai Street to Malama Street, where huge fountains of lava, ongoing flows and toxic emissions are making conditions unsafe. A new lava fissure opened on Kilauea, a massive volcano in the southeast of the state’s Big Island. Lava from the fissure has come within several hundred yards of homes, threatening two subdivisions in the area. The fissure is also releasing toxic amounts of sulfur dioxide, according to Hawaii News Now.
Please allow me to remind the readers that the majority of the people of Pompeii died from toxic emissions.
The Four Volcanic Horseman of the Apocaloypse
What is happening at Kilauea can be divided into four separate parts that is being referred to as the four Horseman of the Apocalypse.
After (1) blue flames, (3) exponentially rising ash clouds, and (3) huge fountains of lava, the fourth horseman of the so-called apocalypse has arrived at the Kilauea volcano. The most active volcano has on the planet has now created its very own weather system which plays by its own rules.
The U.S Geological Survey (USGS) reported that billowing pyrocumulus clouds are rising over Kilauea’s angry eruption at Fissure 8 in the Lower East Rift Zone on Monday.
Pyrocumulus clouds—also known as flammagenitus clouds—are most commonly caused by wildfires. They form when heat from the ground, whether from burning trees or scalding molten rock, causes the air around it to warm and rise, carrying water vapor with it. As that air reaches the cooler heights of the upper atmosphere, that water vapor condenses around tiny particles like ash to form clouds. Those clouds can become unstable and in turn cause thunderstorms. (editor’s note: the fourth horseman).
Thunderstorms might seem like a good thing to happen to Kilauea. Firefighters pray for rain when they are fighting forest fires. However, the lava flow of a volcano is something different. Water on raging lava can lead to a steam effect, thus causing a massive explosion. From their large rocks, the size of home refrigerators, traveling at about 100 miles per hour can hurled thousands of feet into the air and come back to earth as bombs. Many media accouts in Hawaii place the explosiong kill zone as far way as 50 miles.
Kilauea is unlike a lot of volcanoes because it’s a shield volcano which means it has long, sloping sides and because it’s huge, the scale of it is hard to comprehend until you’re on the volcano and you realize one can drive 20 miles and still be on the volcano. This makes it one of the largest volcano and this is a game changer should it explode.
Risk of Tsunami
In a class I took as undergraduate in a sociology class, I learned about disaster training in Colorado from various federal agencies and locations within the state. My biggest takeaway was that effective disaster planning was done with the “worst case scenario” in mind. However, this is not what we are seeing in Hawaii.
The worst case scenario for Hawaii is the risk of tsunami in which local and multiple media accounts state there is no risk of an eruption. No risk? Not even stated odds? Further, in my examination of multple articles, I see no reference to scientific studies, or historical precedent to make such sweeping claim. I do, however, see that tourism, although down by 50%, is continuing unabated which several communities are being evacuated. Doesthis seem like a contradiction to you? After my extensive reading about Kilauea, I have concluded that Chicken Little has never visited Hawaii where it is admitted that refrigerator size projectiles could be coming down on the people. This is a real life example of burying one’s head in the sand.
Let;s take a look at the worst case scenario, which should be guiding the handling of this crisis, but it is not for economic and political reasons.
Pleas consider Kilauea’s Hilina Slump, which is summarized in the following article:
The Hilina Slump is a 5,000 cubic mile (20,000 kilometre³) section of the Big Island of Hawaii on the south flank of the Kilauea volcano. Between 1990 and 1993, Global Positioning System measurements showed a southward displacement of the south flank of Kilauea up to approximately 10 centimeters per year. The slump has the potential of breaking away at a faster pace in the form of an underwater landslide . In Hawaii, landslides of this nature are called debris avalanches. If the entire Hilina Slump were to slide into the ocean at once, it could cause an earthquake in excess of a 9 in magnitude, and a megatsunami. Previous megatsunamis in Hawaii 110,000 years ago caused by similar geological phenomena may have created waves 1,600 feet (500 m) tall.
The following video illustrates the devastating tsunamis that could be caused by a partial or full collapse of the Hilina Slump. Here is one view of how a tsunami could be generated and what the subsequent result could consist of.
Please allow me to leave your with a very plausible scenario, one that should prove to be the guiding force behind disaster planning! But for political and economic reasons, this scenario is not even being discussed and not being reacted to by both state and federal authorities. This is the height of depraved governmental indifference to ignore this situation and it violates everything I learned about disaster planning as an undergraduate.
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