Imagine a treasure trove of knowledge finally being discovered but coming with certain unpredictable dangers. This is what scientists around the world currently feel as the oldest active volcano in the world, Mauna Loa, starts to erupt. Monday, December 2nd was a reminder to everyone that humanity has not figured out all of nature’s secrets.
Why is Mauna Loa special?
It has been thirty-eight years since Mauna Loa last erupted. While much of the volcano’s inner workings are a mystery, Mauna Loa is one of the most studied volcanoes in the United States. Several aspects, such as the volcano’s size, heat, and composition, made it very difficult for scientists to predict what other surprises Mauna Loa had waiting in store for us. While many scientists are eager to see what they can learn, authorities assure us that their first priority is the safety of communities close by that may be affected.
Jim Kauahikaua, a volcanologist working with U.S.G.S, explained “Our main mission is to mitigate these hazards scientifically. An eruption is always exciting, but we learn to temper out excitement and professionally work toward our main mission.”
Tourism and Mythology
Furthermore, many tourists have come to witness this once in a lifetime opportunity. Authorities have had to put restrictions around the area for the protection of the nearby people hoping to witness the spectacle. A $1,000 fine has been placed on walking or stopping in some places near the volcano. For people who would like a bird’s eye view of the magma, helicopter tours are being sold at hundreds of dollars per seat.
The eruption also had many spiritual meanings for Native Hawaiians as it began on their Independence Day. To many, this confirms that Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of fire and the creator of their islands, is pleased with them. These citizens have also been fighting against others who attempt to seize their land, so they take Mauna Loa’s striking eruption to be an auspicious sign.
Nature’s majestic show of power has once again made humanity speechless. Scientists around the world are excited at the prospect of being able to study one of the greatest volcanic eruptions in history and learn more about the workings of Mauna Loa. The eruption has also drawn many tourists from around the world who eagerly view the once in a lifetime opportunity.