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Monday, March 30, 2015

HAS PAHOA DODGED THE FATE OF POMPEII?

Today, two natural disasters, one, an ocean storm already showing to be catastrophic, and the second, a volcanic eruption that seems to be stalling.  Five months ago I posted on:


Well, apparently not, for the U. S. Geological Survey changed the alert level from warning to watch.  This was the danger then to the right.  As recently as March 10, there was still serious concern, below::


However,  while there remain breakouts upstream, Pahoa appears now to be, at this time, not directly threatened:


Kilauea (from where the Pahoa flow emanates) has been constantly providing lava for around a third of century now, and I was there on 3 January 1983, golfing at the Volcano Golf and Country Club, when the first eruption occurred very close to where I was playing.  However, in most ways, what is happening in Hawaii is almost insignificant, for there is considerable world volcanic activity today.  Here is a widget providing details:


  • Pacific Ocean:  26 other volcanoes have ongoing eruptions, including Ngauruhoe in New Zealand, where I stayed at a hotel on its slopes a couple of decades ago, and was concerned about steam and smoke blowing out from the peak.  This is a more recent photo, but very close to what I saw.  I was there on a geothermal project, for Hawaii and New Zealand have very similar underground conditions.
  • Italy:  Stromboli and Etna are two of four currently active.
  • Iceland:  eight volcanoes are erupting.
  • Indonesia:  27 volcanoes are active, including Krakatau (was once called Krakatoa), now underwater (right), which in 1883 killed more than 36,000 people, and perhaps triggered the Dark Ages.
  • Pacific Ring of Fire:  35 volcanoes are currently erupting, including Sakurajima, next to Kagoshima.
  • Multiply the above by two and you have close to the total of those volcanoes on Planet Earth either actively erupting, or recently so.  
  • Wikipedia has a smaller list of erupting volcanoes, and I count 43.
It was 79AD when Mount Vesuvius suddenly dumped superheated lava over Pompeii.  So, yes, that fate appears to have been avoided by Pahoa.  But the slow and agonizing wait is not quite over, for Kilauea remains quite active at the source of exuding lava.   Authorities caution against overconfidence, but there is now, most definitely, a lower stress level, for the once imminent movement near the village seems to now be cool and immobile.  

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Super Typhoon Maysak, at 160 MPH, with gusts approaching 200 MPH, is causing serious havoc through the Federated States of Micronesia, where more than 100,000 live on 607 islands.  Chuuk was yesterday, Yap is next, then on to the Philippines, where the current track appears to be slightly north of Manila:


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