Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Volcano Park, a fiery glow at night, Vog and eathquakes.

View from Kilauea Overlook
 There is something quite astonishing about seeing a red cloud of ash emerge from the Volcano at night, while the full moon gazes unblinkingly over the fiery craters rim. 

Setting up camp 1/2 a mile from the crater.

We camped a ½ mile from the volcano last night…. Park Rangers evacuated the camp site this morning due to dangerous levels of Vog (sulphur dioxide and other nasties). Symptoms we experienced were puffy irritated eyes and to the nose with bouts of coughing. Our friend in Zimbabwe commented that we were lucky to wake up, she's a real cloud-with-a-silver-lining type of person!

Seismograph, with a sensor plate in the floor near the display.
So you can jump and create your own earthquake.
We found that we were also tired but that may have been just the altitude which averages at about 4000 ft above sea level. 

Park Rangers carry portable air quality monitoring devices and are able to react  by closing parts or all of the park when the air quality deteriorates to dangerous levels. It can last from a few hours to days. If you are planning a visit to Volcano, you must expect that this may happen.  Additionally if you suffer from asthma it may be an idea to phone the park for an update on air quality conditions.
Earthquakes on Mauna Loa.
The Seismograph reading shows all the earthquake activity for the mountain we camped on, pity we never felt the rumbles.  The earth quakes almost continually. This website tracks the daily earthquake activity.  Early this morning the house gave an ominous crack, now we know why! Stuart for a moment wondered if we were having a break-in. 

Mural inside the Jagger Museum at the Kilauea Overlook.

Sea Arch, Volcano Park

Sea cliff's crumble without warning, sometimes plunging several football field size areas into the sea.

Tree Mold, the hot lava surrounds the tree, burning it up and then hardens into a mold.

Jess inside a small lava tube.
 Lava tubes and crevasses are all over and they pose a danger to hikers who stray off the trails. The Steam Vents are also extremely dangerous.

Hiking the Kilauea Iki Crater

Peridot gems embed many lava rocks littered across the crater floor. 
The green sand beach is made up of this semi-precious stone.
Lava flows down the hill and into the Pacific Ocean.
Lava flows over the cliff edges. 

Wikipedia describes so well the symptoms of breathing "vog", "Most studies of vog have been in areas where vog is naturally present, and not in controlled conditions. Vog contains chemicals that can damage the environment, and the health of plants, humans and other animals. Most of the aerosols are acidic and of a size where they can remain in the lungs to damage the lungs and impair function. Headaches, watery eyes, sore throat, breathing difficulties (including inducing asthma attacks), flu-like symptoms, and general lethargy are commonly reported. These effects are especially pronounced in people with respiratory conditions and children. 

We take it seriously now after our experience and is another reminder that Hawaii can be hostile considering the list of other dangers such as Tsunamis, occasional high surf, earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding and even water spouts.

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