Monday, May 07, 2018

Volcanoes Vs Wildfires

We're spending a week on Maui, right at the time Kilauea is making a mess out of parts of the Big Island. Friends are joking with us if we've seen lava and will we have to evacuate. Har har. Looking at the videos of the eruption on YouTube, with the reference point of SoCal wildfires, a couple of things jumped out at me.

On the plus side, it's not totally out of control. That is, the thing isn't marching across the landscape at several miles per hour, devouring acreage as fast as it can. It's a much more leisurely pace, giving the residents time to get out. The air isn't filled with smoke, either. If you were as close to the edge of a wildfire as some of the people on the news are to the lava, you'd be dead without breathing apperati.

On the minus side, it's going to go wherever it wants and there's nothing anyone can do to stop it. It just pops up out of the ground willy-nilly and you have to deal with it. One of the things I keep having to get out of my head is the lack of firefighters attacking the lava. I keep wondering where the trucks and hoses are and why nobody is fighting the thing. Then I realize that it's not burning stunted trees and dry brush, it's lava and all the water you can spray isn't going to make any difference at all.

Here's some good footage I found, sans commentary. I have to remind myself that the stuff flying in the air is burning rock, not embers from burning wood. Wowsers.


Jedi Master Ivyan said...

Pahoehoe and a'a flows are slow enough to walk away (Hawaiian words adopted by geologists ). Once the lava makes channels or tubes, it can go faster because it's not losing heat to the ground. Fascinating stuff, but I used to be a geology nut. Enjoy Hawai'i.

Jedi Master Ivyan said...

Oh, and some Icelanders managed to save their harbor from lava flows in Heimaey by spraying lots of water on the advancing front. It must have diverted the flow in a more favorable direction.

K T Cat said...

Great information, Ivyan! Thanks!

Foxfier said...

The steam though.... *shudder*