Heavy rainfall caused the massive eruption of & # 39; volcano Kīlauea in Hawaii two years ago due to the deterioration of & # 39; A rock that plugged its crater, according to a new study.

US investigators say the dramatic eruption in 2018, which destroyed hundreds of homes, was due to wet volcanic rock, which is easily under pressure.

Local rainfall patterns contributed to the & # 39; timing and frequency of & # 39; a chaotic eruption at Kīlauea and perhaps at other volcanoes, they say.

Increased levels of rainfall caused by climate change could also mean more dramatic volcanic events in the future, not just in Hawaii, they warn.

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Lava emerges from a fissure east of & # 39; subdivision of & # 39; e Leilani Estates during ongoing eruptions of Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, FS, May 13, 2018. UM Rosenstiel School scientists have shown that the eruption was likely initiated by prolonged, and sometimes extreme, rainfall in the months leading up to the event

On May 3, 2018, fissures began with the opening and oozing of lava in this lower part of the eastern shift zone as a major flank eruption. Kīlauea was years before May 2018, but rainfall on the rock made it soft. Pressure below the surface caused the wet rocks to crack before magma flowed through multiple fissures along the East Rift Zone

& # 39; Interestingly, when we examine the historical eruption record of Kīlauea, we see that magmatic intrusions and recorded eruptions are almost twice as likely in & # 39; the most legal parts of the year, & # 39; said Dr Jamie Farquharson to & # 39; e Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami.


The Kilauea volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii has been erupting for more than 30 years, but in May 2018 bubbled to & # 39; t the top of & # 39; the volcano in & # 39; weeks ahead.

In years before, the volcano has largely released lava into hard-to-reach areas in a national park or along the island's shoreline.

Lava from the bordering volcano has now destroyed more than 600 homes and forced nearly 2,000 residents to evacuate.

Researchers who followed the event said there was no indication when the destructive lava flow would come to a standstill.

At the beginning of August, the eruption was almost completely halted, and on December 5, it was declared to end after three months of inactivity.

& # 39; If we have regions & # 39; s of & # 39; identifying a world where this type of link exists between rain and volcanism, it can go a long way toward advanced warning of associated volcanic hazards.

& # 39; It has been shown that melting ice caps in Iceland led to changes in volcanic productivity.

& # 39; Because persistent climate change is predicted for changes in & # 39; e rainfall patterns, we expect this to affect patterns of volcanic activity in the same way. & # 39;

The team said water intrusion began in the & # 39; Pu'O O'o area of ​​& # 39; a volcano in the & # 39; east shift zone.

Persistent periods of rainfall trigger volcanic eruptions to break wet rock more easily than dry rock or under the pressure of the magma below.

& # 39; We knew that changes in & # 39; a water content in & # 39; the bottom of & # 39; earthquakes and earthquakes can trigger, & # 39; co-author of & # 39; e study Falk Amelung, also at & # 39; the University of Miami.

& # 39; Now we know it can trigger volcanic eruptions as well. & # 39;

The unusual eruption of Kīlauea, one of Hawaii's most active volcanoes, destroyed more than 500 homes.

Although it has been continuously erupting for decades, the 2018 eruption occurred in & # 39; the Puna district of & # 39; the largest island of & # 39; state an extraordinary new phase on May 3, 2018.

Shining lava was shot nearly two hundred feet in the air and spewed 13 square miles across the well-populated east coast of Hawaii's largest island.

The Hawaiian government reported high levels of toxic sulfur dioxide in the area, which affected some of its first responders.

Energy lines were reported to have melted wrists because of the heat, with other reports describing streams of lava that run through forests and dikes.

Outbreaks of lava fountains up to 90 feet high cause hundreds of homes lost in Puna District on Hawaii's largest island

Outbreaks of lava fountains up to 90 feet high cause hundreds of homes lost in Puna District on Hawaii's largest island

Lava flows along a lava gap in & # 39; the aftermath of & # 39; eruptions Kilauea volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii, May 12, 2018 in Pahoa, Hawaii

Lava flows along a lava gap in & # 39; the aftermath of & # 39; eruptions Kilauea volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii, May 12, 2018 in Pahoa, Hawaii

To learn more about the cause, use of ground and satellite measurements of rainfall, researchers modeled the fluid pressure within the volcano's building over time.

Fluid pressure can directly affect & # 39; propensity for mechanical failure in & # 39; e underground, and eventually floating volcanic activity.

& # 39; An eruption happens when the pressure in & # 39; & # 39; A magma chamber is high enough to break the surrounding rock and the magma travels to the surface, & # 39; said Professor Amelung.

& # 39; This pressure causes inflation of & # 39; e ground with tens of centimeters.

& # 39; Since & # 39; we did not see any significant inflation in the year before the outbreak, we started thinking about alternative explanations. & # 39;

Fluid pressure was the highest in almost half a century before the eruption, which probably facilitated magma movement below the volcano.

While small steam explosions and volcanic earthquakes in the past have been linked to rainfall infiltration by other volcanoes, this is the first time this mechanism is used to explain deeper magmatic processes.

The authors have warned that if this process can be detected at Kīlauea, it can probably occur elsewhere as well.

May 12, 2018, the ash from Kīlauea is visible floating across the island as a large bank of rain clouds invades the northern coast

May 12, 2018, the ash from Kīlauea is visible floating across the island as a large bank of rain clouds invades the northern coast

& # 39; Having established the evidence of eruption with rain due to rain at Kīlauea, it will be fascinating to explore other volcanoes, & # 39; said Farquharson.

The study uses Earth observation satellites and NASA rainfall and Japanese Space Exploration Agency data, as well as ground deformation observations of the European Space Agency.

The findings are published in the journal Nature.


According to Eric Dunham, an associate professor of & # 39; the School of Earth, energy and environmental science of & # 39; At Stanford University, volcanoes are complicated and there are currently no universally applicable means of predicting eruptions. After all, there never will be. & # 39;

However, there are indicators of increased volcanic activity that researchers can use to predict volcanic eruptions.

Researchers can follow indicators such as:

  • Volcanic infrasound: As the lava lake rises in the crater of an open vent volcano, a sign of a possible eruption, the pitch or frequency of & # 39; e sounds that have been generated by the magma.
  • Seismic activity: Ahead of an eruption, seismic activity in the form of small earthquakes and tremors almost always takes over as magma through the & # 39; plastic & # 39; from & # 39; a volcano is going.
  • Gas Exhaust: As magma approaches the surface and the pressure decreases, gases escape. Sulfur dioxide is one of the main components of volcanic gases, and increasing amounts thereof are a sign of increasing amounts of magma near the surface of a volcano.
  • Grounding: Changes to the ground surface of a volcano (deformation of the volcano) appear as swelling, sinking or cracking, which may be caused by magma, gas, or other fluids (usually water) that moving underground or through movements in the earth's crust due to movement along fault lines. Swelling of a volcanic canopy signals that magma has accumulated at the surface.

Source: United States Geological Survey

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