Tuesday December 10, 2019
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Scientists Go Beyond The Laws Of Nature To Unlock Secrets Of Hawaii Volcano

Geologists have died studying active volcanoes

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ocean, water, farms
Dr. Jessica Ball of USGS, a geologist and volcanologist who does research at the US Geological Survey, is updating Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists on the ground during a helicopter overflight of the ocean entry of the fissure 8 lava flow where a laze (lava haze) plume is visible over the active parts of the flow margin near Kapoho, Hawaii, June 8, 2018. VOA

Dressed in heavy cotton, a helmet and respirator, Jessica Ball worked the night shift monitoring “fissure 8,” which has been spewing fountains of lava as high as a 15-story building from a slope on Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano.

The lava poured into a channel oozing toward the Pacific Ocean several miles away. In the eerie orange nightscape in the abandoned community of Leilani Estates, it looked like it was flowing toward the scientist, but that was an optical illusion, Ball said.

“The volcano is doing what it wants to. … We’re reminded what it’s like to deal with the force of nature,” said Ball, a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey.

Scientists have been in the field measuring the eruptions 24 hours a day, seven days a week since Kilauea first exploded more than two months ago.

They are a mix of USGS staff, University of Hawaii researchers and trained volunteers working six-to-eight-hour shifts in teams of two to five.

They avoid synthetics because they melt in the intense heat and wear gloves to protect their hands from sharp volcanic rock and glass. Helmets protect against falling lava stones, and respirators ward off sulfur gases.

This is not a job for the faint hearted. Geologists have died studying active volcanoes. David Alexander Johnston, a USGS volcanologist was killed by the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington state. In 1991,

American volcanologist Harry Glicken and his French colleagues Katia and Maurice Krafft were killed while conducting avalanche research on Mount Unzen in Japan.

Ball, a graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo, located in upstate New York near the Canadian border, compared Kilauea’s eruptions to Niagara Falls.

“It gives you the same feeling of power and force,” she said.

Worth the risks

Kilauea, which has been erupting almost continuously since 1983, is one of the world’s most closely monitored volcanoes, largely from the now-abandoned Hawaiian Volcano Observatory at the summit. But the latest eruption is one of Kilauea’s biggest and could prove to be a bonanza for scientists.

Ball and the USGS teams are studying how the magma – molten rock from the earth’s crust – tracks through a network of tubes under the volcano in what is known as the “Lower East Rift Zone,” before ripping open ground fissures and spouting fountains of lava.

They are trying to discover what warning signs may exist for future eruptions to better protect the Big Island’s communities, she said.

Fissure 8 is one of 22 around Kilauea that have destroyed over 1,000 structures and forced 2,000 people to evacuate. They are what make this volcanic eruption a rare event, Ball said.

“They’re common for Kilauea on a geologic time scale, but in a human time scale it’s sort of a career event,” she said.

Meanwhile, the summit is erupting almost every day with steam or ash, said Janet Snyder, spokeswoman for the County of Hawaii, where Kilauea is located.

Scientists had thought the steam explosions resulted from lava at the summit dropping down the volcano’s throat into groundwater. This was based on Kilauea’s 1924 eruption, to which the current one is most often compared.

Scientists have been in the field measuring the eruptions 24 hours a day, seven days a week since Kilauea first exploded more than two months ago.
Scientists have been in the field measuring the eruptions 24 hours a day, seven days a week since Kilauea first exploded more than two months ago. Pixabay

But the explosions this time have released lots of sulfur dioxide gas, which means magma is involved, said Michael Poland, scientist-in-charge at Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, one of many volcanologists seconded to Kilauea.

“So we have already made a conceptual leap, leading us to believe it was different from what we had understood,” he said.

Poland and other scientists pulled equipment and archives out of the abandoned observatory at the volcano summit after hundreds of small eruption-induced quakes damaged the structure, and have decamped to the University of Hawaii in Hilo on the Big Island.

The archives included photos, seismic records and samples, some 100 or more years old, Poland said. “These materials are invaluable to someone who says, ‘I have this new idea, and I want to test it using past data.'”

Now the second longest Kilauea eruption on record, surpassed only by one in 1955, this eruption offers far better research opportunities than previous events, Ball said.

Also read: Earthquake Then Volcano, There is No Relief For the Hawaii Residents

“We’ve got much better instruments and we’ve got longer to collect the data,” she said, (VOA)

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What Is So Special About the African Jungle Safari?

Once you are in the middle of several wild animals experiencing an African jungle safari, you'll know why they call this a once-in-a-lifetime experience

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Safari
There are specific areas in Africa where you can take an African jungle Safari and view a natural ecosystem that is constantly in motion. Pixabay

It’s not surprising that Africa is one of the top spots to travel to when you want to experience something unusual in your life as it is known for its large mammals and massive bird population. By visiting the continent, you can experience breathtaking views of wild animals in their natural environment. Whether you’re traveling by night, on a walking African jungle safari or viewing the area by plane, you’ll probably feel like this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience after visiting certain areas of Africa.

What Is Special About an African Jungle Safari?

There are specific areas in Africa where you can take an African jungle Safari and view a natural ecosystem that is constantly in motion. You can see animals that range from elephants and giraffes to lions and zebra. Certain areas offer a viewpoint of amazing wildlife throughout the year with certain times highlighting special events such as the annual wildebeest migration where close to 1.5 million wildebeest, 300,000 gazelles and 200,000 zebra trek across the dusty plains in search of greener pastures.

Get in Touch With Nature

Going on an African jungle safari allows you to get in touch with nature. You can hear hyenas cackling as they look for food or watch elephants trample across trails that are hundreds of years old. You’ll also see rhinos, hippos and cheetahs sitting in the sun or refreshing themselves in one of the flowing rivers. Not mention, there is magnificent scenery to see just about everywhere.

Safari
During Safari, You can see animals that range from elephants and giraffes to lions and zebra. Certain areas offer a viewpoint of amazing wildlife throughout the year with certain times highlighting special events. Pixabay

Wide Range of Accommodations Are Available

If you’re looking for a place to stay when you visit Africa, you’ll find everything from luxury lodges to public campsites. The Central Serengeti region hosts the largest variety of accommodations to choose from. It’s important to book your accommodations well in advance of your trip, especially if you’re going to be traveling during peak season. If you decide to stay in public campsites, you usually won’t need to make a reservation in advance. The cost for these campsites typically ranges between about $30-$50 for an adult, but if you’re on your trip and run short of cash, you can have a relative or friend send money to Africa to tide you over during your trip.

ALSO READ: Here are 4 Travel Destinations for Couples

Once in a Lifetime Experience

Once you are in the middle of several wild animals experiencing an African jungle safari, you’ll know why they call this a once-in-a-lifetime experience. At any given time you might see giraffes loping along or monkeys shuffling around in trees. If you get a chance, try and go when The Great Migration is occurring as it can be a truly spectacular sight to see. When it’s the wet season in the Serengeti, the animals will be traveling towards the south, which is from December to June. After temperatures rise and dry out the area, the migration will move towards greener pastures. Most African jungle Safari guides will know where the animals are located. It’s also possible to travel through the area and see the animals by driving your own vehicle.