- The sort of lava flowing is “sort of like a bulldozer,” mentioned Wendy Stovall, a USGS volcanologist.
- Authorities in Hawaii have sometimes tried to divert flows, each with partitions and explosives. Neither labored significantly properly.
- Many Native Hawaiians imagine disrupting the lava is disrespectful to the volcano goddess Pele.
Slowly, slowly, the lava oozing from Mauna Loa is headed towards one of many most important roads on the island of Hawaii, and with it comes renewed questions on whether or not the flows may be diverted or stopped.
Brief reply: Not likely. And authorities are significantly reluctant to even strive as a result of many Native Hawaiians imagine disrupting the lava is disrespectful to the volcano goddess Pele.
“It comes up each time there’s an eruption and there’s lava heading in direction of habited areas or highways. Some individuals say ‘Construct a wall’ or ‘Board up’ and different individuals say, ‘No do not!,'” mentioned Scott Rowland, a geologist on the College of Hawaii.
Across the Large Island, indicators of previous lava flows are inescapable, together with alongside Saddle Highway — a key route on the island often known as Daniel Okay. Inouye Freeway or Freeway 200 — that is now being threatened. The highway runs between the summits of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea.
Many individuals perceive lava from its depiction in films: flowing quickly downhill like water. And that may be true in some instances.
Proper now, the sort of lava flowing is “sort of like a bulldozer,” mentioned Wendy Stovall, a U.S. Geological Survey volcanologist. “If an eruption continues and lava continues to movement, it may overtop something in its path.”
WATCH:Shut-up view of lava from Hawaii Mauna Loa volcano
VIDEO:Mauna Loa eruption casts pink glow over Hawaii evening sky
Hawaii usually sees two totally different sorts of lava flows: Clean, shiny flows referred to as pāhoehoe and a extra tough, clinker-like type known as ‘A‘ā. The ‘A‘ā sort of lava can transfer quicker than pāhoehoe, laying down a mattress of cinders after which flowing atop them. Listening to that sort of movement sounds lots like Styrofoam being crumpled.
Stovall mentioned the most important think about whether or not lava will movement over or destroy roads and buildings is the size of the eruption: If the lava retains coming, it should finally pave all the pieces in its path.
However the actuality is even when flowing, lava hardly ever strikes quicker than a brisk stroll.
Authorities in Hawaii have sometimes tried to divert flows, each with partitions and explosives. Neither labored significantly properly.
“Most individuals’s orientation on this type of factor comes from films. It’s a standard sufficient trope in films that we overlook how unrealistic that’s,” Shannon Kobs Nawotniak, an Idaho State College geosciences professor advised USA TODAY throughout the 2018 Kilauea eruption on Hawaii, which destroyed greater than 700 properties. “You’re not going to sink into it like Gollum in Lord of the Rings. It’s actually not like that. It’s slow-moving and inexorable and powerful, but it surely’s not going to suck issues down.”
Throughout the globe, the highest-profile time authorities profitable diverted a lava movement was for a slow-moving movement threatening the only real harbor on a tiny Icelandic fishing island. For 5 months in 1973, employees doused the entrance of the movement with ice-cold seawater till it floor to a halt. That required 1.5 billion gallons of water, and the lava nonetheless destroyed a whole lot of properties.
In 1990, a lava movement from close by Kilauea volcano destroyed many of the city of Kalapana, and in 2018 extra Kilauea flows destroyed dozens of homes within the Leilani Estates neighborhood. These 2018 flows additionally lined a number of roads with greater than 20 ft of lava, which has nonetheless not been eliminated.
“It is heartbreaking to look at the residents take care of it, (however) I feel they know and perceive that Madam Pele decides who will probably be impacted,” Hawaii Gov. David Ig advised USA TODAY throughout the 2018 Kilauea eruption.
Contributing: The Related Press