Friday, May 8, 2009

Hawaii's "Gentle" Volcano More Dangerous Than Thought

Visitors watch lava from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano roll downhill toward the ocean in 2004. A May 2009 study says the famously gentle, though active, volcano may be capable of much stronger eruptions than previously thought. Photograph by David Jordan/AP

From National Geographic:

Hawaii's tourist-friendly Kilauea volcano is famous for its lazy rivers of lava (Kilauea volcano lava pictures).

But a new report says the volcano, known as the world's most active, has a violent alter ego.

The coastal volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii is capable of much stronger eruptions than previously thought, according to the study.

"It turns out that the volcano—known for being this nice, gentle volcano [where] you can walk up to lava flows just wearing flip-flops—has a very dangerous side," said study co-author Tim Rose, a volcanologist at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

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