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History of Hawaii Illustrates Difficulty of Stopping Lava

By 12/01/2022 3:02 PMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff

Prayer. Bombs. Walls. As the lava flow from Hawaii’s volcanoes lumbered toward roads, homes, and infrastructure, people have attempted them over the years.

The largest active volcano in the world, Mauna Loa, is erupting again, and lava is gradually making its way toward the main road that connects the east and west sides of the Big Island.

And once more, people are inquiring whether it is possible to stop or change the flow.

“It always pops up when an eruption occurs, and lava is moving near populated areas or highways.

Some advice is building a wall or boarding up, while others caution against doing so. Geologist Scott Rowland from the University of Hawaii remarked.

Despite global technological advancements, stopping lava is still challenging and relies on the strength of the flow and the topography, and humans have only sometimes been successful.

But many in Hawaii also doubt the prudence of meddling with Pele, the Hawaiian god of fire and volcanoes.

Lava diversion attempts have a lengthy history in Hawaii.

A day of prayer was instituted in 1881 by Hawaii Island’s governor to halt Mauna Loa’s lava from reaching Hilo. Lava just kept coming.

As stated by the U.S., Princess Regent Lili’uokalani traveled to Hilo with the leaders of her departments to examine measures to preserve the town.

They devised strategies to construct obstructions to redirect the flow and lay explosives along lava tubes to drain the supply of molten rock.

As the flow neared, Princess Ruth Ke’eliklani presented whiskey and red scarves while chanting for Pele to stop and go home.

Before the barriers were created, the flow ceased.

Thomas A. Jaggar, the creator of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, enquired to the U.S. To block lava routes, Army Air Services will dispatch aircraft to bomb a Mauna Loa vent.

According to a National Park Service account of the assault, Lt. Col. George S. Patton, who subsequently rose to fame as a general in Europe during World War II, ordered planes to drop 20 demolition bombs weighing 600 pounds (272 kg).

TNT weighed 355 pounds (161 kilograms) in each bomb.

Additionally, 20 smaller bombs with only a black powder charge were dropped by the aircraft.

Jagger claimed that the attack accelerated “the end of the flow,” but U.S. Onboard the last bombing mission, a geologist from the Geological Survey expressed doubt.

I am convinced it was a coincidence, he stated in his autobiography published in 1983.

Geologists today do not believe that the bombing stopped the lava flow, which continued after the bombing, according to the park service.

Talmadge Magno, the director of civil defense for Hawaii County, said on Wednesday that although there have been some discussions about it, there are currently no preparations for the county to attempt and redirect the flow.

Gov. David Ige of Hawaii, who served as governor during the 2018 Kilauea eruption, told reporters that his experience taught him that Pele and nature could not be defeated.

According to Native Hawaiian cultural practitioner Kealoha Pisciotta, the belief that you should actively divert lava is a Western one that stems from the idea that humans need to have control over everything.

According to her, humans should adapt to the lava rather than the other way around.

She declared, “We are not apart from nature.” “Nature is a part of us.”


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