Thursday, January 26, 2023

Hawaii: Lava threatens critical Big Island highway

Hot lava from the world’s largest volcano could destroy the main highway connecting the east and west coasts of Hawaii’s Big Island. Photo The Time: Associated Press.

Red-hot lava from the world’s largest volcano could destroy the main highway connecting the east and west coasts of Hawaii’s Big Island this weekend, and nothing can be done to stop it. The experts have declared.

Mauna Loa awoke from its 38-year slumber on Sunday, spewing ash and volcanic rock. The magma draws thousands of spectators to Route 200 near Parque Nacional de los Volcanes, who endure the pungent smell of volcanic gases and sulfur to view the sweeping lava flow.

“It’s exciting,” said Catherine Tarananda of Waimea. The 66-year-old woman set two alarms so that she would not miss the chance to watch the sunrise against the backdrop of the eruption. “We are in the middle of nature. It is inspiring that we live in this place… I feel very, very lucky to be an islander.

The lava flows slowly downstream only a few miles down the road, which crosses ancient lava flows. Known as Saddle Road, the highway bisects the island and connects the cities of Hilo and Kailua-Kona. Should it become impassable, the alternative is a longer coastal route, which adds several hours to the journey.

Ken Hone, the scientist in charge of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, said on Wednesday that given the current flow, the lava could reach the road in two days, although it is likely to take longer. “As the lava flow expands, it will likely interfere with its progress,” Hone said. Meanwhile, scientists are trying to measure the gas released from the eruption.

Nation World News Desk
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