One of the most destructive natural phenomena is happening right now in the Pacific. Big Island, part of the islands of Hawaii, is home to the Kilauea volcano which has been rumbling on for about a fortnight. But now eruptions have reached a peak with shards of rock and toxic fumes billowing into the atmosphere creating a lethal cocktail of poisonous air and destruction of everything in its wake.
There is no point in trying to prevent the flow from a volcano, as nothing will work against the path of the molten rock and fire. Homes, workplaces and treasured possessions have been swallowed as the volcano continues to spew. Over 35 properties have been destroyed in its relentless flow and all the fire authorities can do is to clear up after the event. Toxic fumes stick around though, and this has made fire control so much more difficult. Although the volcano cannot be stopped, attempts have been made in the past to divert volcanic flow into the sea to protect harbour areas, but mixing lava with seawater can be a lethal combination and the resulting gasses can create more problems.
In movement, the mesmerising flow of the lava may look like a sticky syrup, but its consistency is more like cement and when it cools it hardens as rock, which makes the aftermath so much more challenging. Some homeowners have needed a lot of persuasion to leave their properties … after this drama is over, it will be a huge clear up operation for the people of Hawaii.
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