Satellite images show a spectacular eruption still going on at Mauna Loa

Satellite images show a spectacular eruption still going on at Mauna Loa

The satellites continued to track the Mauna Loa volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island, which continued to spew boiling lava and toxic volcanic ash for a week after waking from a nearly 40-year slumber.

The volcano has a peak of 4 km above the turbid waters of the Pacific Ocean, more than 5 km below the surface of the sea, making it the tallest volcano in the world. The giant was previously active on average once every five years, but has been inactive since 1984. This long period of inactivity ended abruptly on November 27, when a new rift opened in the sky. Mauna Loa crater, also known as the crater, and began spewing lava on the walls. up to 150 feet (40 meters). Since then, Earth-observing satellites have been recording the eruption’s progress and measuring the levels of toxic fumes rising from the volcano’s interior, which in some cases can affect Earth’s climate.

According to a statement (opens in a new tab) from the United States Geological Survey (USGS), Mauna Loa has released between 133,000 and 200,000 tons (120,000 and 180,000 tons) of sulfur dioxide each day since then. when the eruption started. Ground-level sulfur dioxide air pollution irritates the human respiratory tract, which can lead to an increased risk of infection.

At higher altitudes, above 9 miles (15 km), sulfur dioxide can affect Earth’s climate by reflecting sunlight away from the Earth.

The European atmospheric watchdog Copernicus released projections for the spread of volcanic smoke, which showed the cloud moving eastward towards the west coast of the United States, over the southern United States. and swirling over the Caribbean and Central American countries.

Violent volcanic eruptions containing large amounts of sulfur dioxide, such as the Mount Pinatubo explosion in the Philippines in 1991, can temporarily cool Earth’s climate. However, Mauna Loa’s eruptions have yet to show the force required to spew sulfur dioxide at such high altitudes, meaning the effects of the smoke will be felt mainly on the ground, according to the USGS.

Copernicus said in a statement that the volcanic cloud was spreading “above the surface, with no significant impact on air quality or other major atmospheric impacts, as of December 5, 2022.”

Even so, the Hawaii Department of Health issued an air quality warning, saying the eruption could result in “[volcanic fog], airborne ash” and fluctuating levels of dioxide. of sulfur in the atmosphere with local areas of significant air pollution.

Fortunately, the eruption is still limited to the summit of the volcano, which, according to the USGS, poses no threat to the inhabited areas so far. Lava from a volcano to Daniel K. According to a statement from the UGSG, the Inouye Expressway, a major roadway that runs through the Big Island, is yet to be known if and to what extent it could damage the roadway. Hawaii has activated the Hawaii National Guard to help control traffic, according to the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.

News Summary:

  • Satellite images show a spectacular eruption still going on at Mauna Loa
  • Check all news and articles from the latest Space news updates.