Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Hawaii Apocalypse: Mega-Disasters, History Channel


Today, Tuesday October 2, 2007. The History Channel presented a 45 minute film in its Mega-Disaster series, "Hawaii Apocalypse", focused on how much of the Big Island could be destroyed by an eruption of the shield volcano Mauna Loa. There are several other volcanoes on the island, including the smaller Kilauea, and more than one can erupt at once.

A really large landslide from Mauna Loa could create a tsunami, which could devastate Honolulu in half and hour, and conceivably could reach the US West Coast with 300 foot waves, although quakes capable of generating these are supposed to happen only every 100000 years. (A similar threat may exist with volcanoes in the Canary Islands in the Atlantic, which could conceivably cause landslides and subsequent large tsunamis that reach the US East Coast -- see July 25, 2006 on this blog.) Mauna Loa and Kilauea erupted simultaneously in 1984. A really large eruption of Mauna Loa may happen every 200 years.

The program ends with a simulation of the damage that could occur to the Big Island from a large eruption.

I visited Hawaii in 1980. Car rental agreements normally don't allow driving up Mauna Loa, but I did drive up Haleakala on Maui, at 10000 feet. A friend went on a birding trip on the slopes of Mauna Loa in 1990.

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