HOW DO YOU STOP A LAVA FLOW?
For good reason, it is has been the most popular article from this blog for several days. In 1984 a flow from Mauna Loa threatened Hilo. Here is a night view from the town.
- I feel somewhat comfortable addressing this subject (although my common sense says I should remain silent), for in the '70's I worked on Operation Plowshare to use nuclear bombs for peaceful purposes at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
- Lt. Col. George S. Patton designed a bombing run of Mauna Loa when it erupted in 1935. (Yes, that Patton who became a famous general)
- In the '70's, the U.S. Air Force did actually bomb that volcano, twice, but only for experimental purposes. Today it's unimaginable for anything so harsh to be suggested. Just attempting to place another telescope on Mauna Kea has been an exercise in near futility.
- A chemical engineering solution would be to introduce carbonate rocks (such as limestone). There would be an endothermic reaction to cool the lava, increasing the viscosity and stopping the flow. Unfortunately, if the volcano keeps spewing out molten rock, the flow could go elsewhere, and there would be liability problems
- You need to pass through Pahoa to get to this geothermal region, which is located uphill from the Kapoho eruption in 1960, where the main flow went to sea, but an offshoot in 16 days totally wiped out the town. But one never learns, for this is now the most expensive part of Puna with million dollar homes.