Silent rage: Geologists warn one day Kilauea’s calm eruptions will turn violently explosive

December 7, 2011HAWAIIKilauea, the sleepy Hawaiian volcano famed for its quiet lava flows, could awaken into violent explosive eruptions at any time, geologists on the Big Island warn. Researchers at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory – where 5,000 mainland visitors a day come to see the lava – have uncovered detailed evidence that during three long periods over the past 2,500 years, the summit of the shaking mountain has blasted out fiery rocks, steam and carbon dioxide again and again. It’s bound to happen again, but the scientists say they can’t predict when. Donald Swanson of the U.S. Geological Survey and director of the observatory, along with his colleagues, are reporting on their research into the volcano’s intermittent activity this week at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco’s Moscone Center. “Our research shows that Kilauea is a dangerous explosive volcano for long periods of time, alternating with periods dominated by gentle lava flows,” Swanson said during a briefing for reporters. Continuous and often spectacularly scenic lava flows, interrupted only occasionally by modest explosive eruptions, have marked the volcano’s activity for the past 200 years, but the 300 years before that saw one explosive eruption after another, he said. Swanson and his colleagues have just completed a fresh look at Kilauea’s worst eruption in history, which killed uncounted numbers of Hawaiian people in November 1790. “The good news is that we are currently in a period of frequent lava flows, and the hazard of explosive eruptions is small,” Swanson said. “The bad news is that we don’t know when the next period of deep caldera and explosive eruptions will start. We know too little to estimate recurrence intervals.” –SF Gate excerpt
This entry was posted in Earth Changes, Earth Watch, Earthquake Omens?, Seismic tremors, Volcanic Eruption, Volcano Watch. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Silent rage: Geologists warn one day Kilauea’s calm eruptions will turn violently explosive

  1. Amy P. says:

    M 4.6 2011/12/08 01:13 Depth 20.0 km OFFSHORE ATACAMA, CHILE
    85 km (52 miles) NNW of Vallenar, Atacama, Chile


  2. Irene C says:

    I keep thinking I would love to go to see Kilauea, but then I remind myself that this is an active volcano. How close do I really want to get to this. I’m sure it must be amazing, but I’m way too old to be running from a volcano that decides it wants to explode (if I could run that fast).

    Than I think about all the tourists who go there just to see the volcano and to enjoy the touch of paradise. Let’s pray there will be plenty of warning before it explodes – not that anyone will take it seriously.



  3. pagan66 says:

    I am one of the tourists who did go there & did think wow what if this does explode, where should I run? Very beautiful but so dangerous as is all of Nature. I also went to Yellowstone & thought the same exact thing. To me – Yellowstone felt the more dangerous of the two though, not sure why, maybe because it looked so sublime on top but all that awesome power just a few kilometres mainly hidden beneath my feet.



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