Scientists had observed the lava flows of Hawaii during 1955 and 1960, but the types of equipment at that time weren’t much advanced of course. The recent eruptions starting May 3, although bringing the only destruction to the Big Island, are as well providing the opportunity for scientists to use modern-day advanced equipments for finding out more about volcanoes.
Kilauea has been erupting continuously since 1983. Its series of eruptions now has destroyed about 600 homes, with lava scouring a new area of about 12 km or 20 miles. This flow, along with steam-driven explosions at the top, and earthquakes shaking the ground are a new combination of Kilauea’s traits as compared to its behaviors in the last 35 years.
This is more like the Hawaii Kilauea Volcano from about 94 years ago. A 1924 eruption saw through two weeks of steam explosions at the summit. Scientists are presently observing on what could have caused the change, and whether it is here to stay.
Be it at night or day, researchers now have radars to measure the height of ash plumes from the summit. Plume heights signify the intensity of the explosion, they are an effect of the amount of heat energy released.
Scientists can further monitor in which way the gas is emerging, and can determine the volume and composition. Additionally, it is also possible to measure the rise and fall of ground across a broad area and time. This helps to understand when and where magma is pooling underground.
That’s not all, as the discovery of variations and correlations between past and present eruptions give more ideas on what’s going on. These contribute in comprehending past lava flows and anticipating the future activities. As a result, signs, and patterns before eruption can be more accurately understood.
Scientists of the U.S. Geological Survey were able to accurately forecast the behavior of Hawaii Kilauea Volcano over Puna, the most affected area of the island. This is consistently not yet possible, as nature is still unpredictable to mankind. June 3 saw the Volcano of Fire in Guatemala generated a mix of hot gas, rock and other materials sliding down the slopes and killing about 100 people.
Volcanologists are presently focusing on learning as much as possible from Kilauea. It is good news that they are getting better at this, thanks to today’s advancements in technologies and equipment.