Saturday, 22 November 2008

Burnt matches

It's early morning and I awake to find someone has spent the night lighting matches and leaving them all over the house and yard. That's what it smells like anyway. It's foggy outside as well; the ironwood trees on the nearby coastline are usually sharp and well-defined from here but are cloaked in mist this morning.

The wind has shifted with the approach of a storm and is now blowing the plume from the Halema`uma`u crater at Kilauea's summit directly over the windward side of the island and we wake to a lovely dose of sulphur dioxide. I suppose it's only fair, most of the time the folks on the leeward side of the island have to put up with the vog, but at least it has to travel quite a distance before it gets there so does disperse a little. Here, it's only 20 miles or so from the volcano's summit so the vog is thick and and has a powerful smell of sulphur. The winds aren't forecast to shift for a few days so we'll get used to it I suppose.

2 comments:

Protege said...

How extraordinary, I have never heard of vog before! This must be very interesting, living in such close proximity to an active volcano. Is there any danger being this close to it, I mean is there any chances it will erupt violently? Or does the lava flow from it more slowly, posing no threat to the islands inhabitants?

Tom said...

Hello Protege! The volcanoes here tend not to be explosive although there have been explosive events in the past (and the current activity on Kilauea has included explosions, but relatively small ones). The main threat comes from lava flows which can be both slow and fast-flowing, but pose little risk to people as there's enough time to get out of the way. Many buildings and houses, however, have been destroyed by lava flows in recent years. In future months I'll blog about Kalapana, a beautiful village that was destroyed by lava in 1990. It's not far away from where I live, but I'm relatively safe from Kilauea flows. Mauna Loa is a different matter though...