Hurricane Hector May Cause Kilauea to Erupt
HAWAII — August 6, 2018
Weather forecasters report that the hurricane will potentially hit the US this week. It was given it the official name Hector.
As a result, low-atmospheric pressure from the possible hurricane could entail major eruptions from the Kilauea Volcano if it maintains its course over the southern edge of Hawaii’s Big Island, specialists say.
‘The small but powerful’ Hector, swirling harmlessly in the Pacific some 1,700 miles (2,760 km) east of the Big Island, grew into a 'major hurricane' late Friday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. It is already a Category 3 hurricane capable of sustaining 120mph winds and likely to cause major damage in built-up areas.
"Hector is our first hurricane this year. We want to remind the public we are in the middle of the hurricane season and we urge people to take the weekend to prepare their homes and families for impacts that could be felt statewide," said Tom Travis, Hawaii's Administrator of Emergency Management, in a news release.
In addition to threats of flooding and mudslides, volcanic gases can create acid rain when they mix with water droplets in the atmosphere. This toxic precipitation can harm crops, drinking water and infrastructure.
The last tome the Kilauea Volcano erupted was in May 2018. It covered 13.4 square miles (34.7 sq km) of the island’s surface, destroying more than 700 homes and displacing thousands of residents.
Scientists still differ over exactly how hurricanes and volcanoes might interact, and what elements trigger eruptions.
According to the University of Hawaii study, in 2013, Tropical Storm Flossie passed just north of the Big Island and interacted with particles and gases from Kilauea, leading to an increase in lightning during the storm.
"As volcanic emissions were wrapped into this moist environment, sulfate aerosols promoted the formation of a greater number of smaller-than-normal cloud droplets, which favored charge separation in the upper-cloud region and the occurrence of lightning," a news release on the study said.
For example, a tropical cyclone once moved over an active volcano during the eruption of Mount Pinatubo.
Typhoon Yunya, also known as Typhoon Diding, occurred June 1991 in the Philippines.
Hurricanes and volcanoes are often active in similar areas, especially in the western Pacific along an active tectonic strip called the Ring of Fire, scientists say.
"The so-called Ring of Fire is the Earth's most active location in terms of earthquake activity, but it also contains hundreds of volcanoes," said one of the participants of the study of the University of Hawaii.
In addition to Hawaii's Kilauea, another notable volcano within this dangerous of thetropics is Montserrat's Soufrière Hills volcano in the eastern Caribbean. There are also several volcanoes in the Azores of the northeastern Atlantic, but tropical systems rarely reach that archipelago.
The eruption set records, exploding from the lower zone for several weeks, compared to the 88 days recorded in 1840 and 1955, respectively, according to Janet Babb, a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. But an eruption from another vent on Kilauea’s middle East Rift Zone continued with little interruption for 35 years.