Author Archives: VMV

Hawaii Volcanoes

Guest blog by Shannon Maylath and Hanifah Paul

Hawaii is home to some of the world’s most active and largest volcanoes.  http://virtual.yosemite.cc.ca.us/ghayes/Hawaii_Bathymetry.jpgThe volcanoes that make up the Hawaiian islands are a chain of shield volcanoes that have formed over a hot spot in the pacific ocean, starting around 70 million years ago.  The islands have progressed from northwest to southeast over time, making Kohala the oldest, Kilauea the youngest, and Mauna Kea, Hualalai, and Mauna Loa in between. Kilauea is labeled one of Earth’s most active volcanoes.  Eruptions at Kilauaea primarily occur along the East and Southwest rift zones.  Kilauea has been issuing lava continuously since 1983 while written records for volcanic eruption at this site go as far back as 1820.

Mauna Loa is the most massive volcano on Earth with a volume estimated at approximately 18,000 cubic miles. The low silica content of Mauna Loa produces fast moving lava and gentle, non-explosive eruptions.  The drifting of the Pacific Plate will eventually carry Mauna Loa away from the hot spot in about 500,000 years, leaving the volcano extinct.

While Haualalai, the third most active volcano in Hawaii,  has not issued an eruption since 1801, geologists project an eruption within the next 100 years, labeling it potentially dangerous. Earthquakes recorded in the 1970’s have been linked to the rising magma levels in Haualalai.

While Haleakala volcano has remained dormant for about 600 years, the newly forming Lo’ihi (a seamount ) is projected by geologists to have intermediate eruptions.http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/33/91933-004-DAEEF82A.jpg

The Hawaiian volcanoes affect many aspects of life on the islands. They can be destructive to property, often shutting down roads and occasionally requiring evacuation, or beneficial by bringing in tourism and interest in the state’s unusual environment.

Will the Yellowstone erupt?

Guest blog by Ryan Riols and Jacqueline Casteel

Yellowstone National Park, located in the western United States is considered a super volcano.  OthersSo what exactly is a super volcano? According to R.S.J Sparks,

A super eruption is a scaled up version of a typical volcanic outburst. Each is caused by a rising and growing chamber of hot molten rock known as magma.

So now that we know this, what would happen if the super volcano known as Yellowstone were to erupt? Yellowstone The eruption of Yellowstone would easily be the greatest catastrophe that the modern world has ever experienced. The eruption would be preceded by several massive earthquakes and the Yellowstone Plateau would begin to rise to extreme levels. Gases would begin to build and once released the explosion would affect the majority of North America. Massive ash falls would cover up to half of the United States and travel throughout the atmosphere blocking the sun. This would cause temperatures to fall and would lead to devastating agricultural failures.  Link. Most scientists predict that this eruption will not occur for thousands of years, however, it is inevitable and a disaster the United States will eventually be faced with.

Is the increased flooding around the world a sign of things to come?

Several floods from around the world have been in the news over the past few weeks.  Dark clouds hover over the Mumbai skyline on June 23, 2009Even though we didn’t see many hurricanes in the Atlantic this year, localized storm activity seems to be linked to climate change.  There were intense droughts followed by deluges in South Asia and also in cities right here in the southeastern US.  Check out some of the photos in this Time article.