Kilauea Volcano’s Self-Fulfilling Seismic Legacy
So far, we’ve discussed singular events occurring on a short timeline, with two of them directly related to earthquakes. Here, we’ll not only reverse the cause and effect but extend that timeline — to the tune of over 30 years. If you slept through high school geography, you might not know that earthquakes are caused by shifts in the planet’s tectonic plates. Knowing that, it’s not surprising that areas around volcanoes, often already along fault lines, can create an extremely messy seismic situation. The two can end up forming quite a gruesome twosome, as the lava flows from an active volcano can cause seismic activity, which opens up more escape valves for magma, which, well… so on and so on.
An excellent example of this at work is the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii. We’ll start in 1983, when Kilauea erupted, an event that in itself destroyed local homes as lava flowed to the number one place you don’t want it — the surface. However, conventional wisdom on a volcanic eruption is that it’s one big boom, a planetary cough that produces a bunch of very spicy phlegm. In reality, the “eruption of Kilauea in 1983” is more accurately described as the “eruption of Kilauea from the year 1983-2018” — a span of 35 years. This timeline is filled with a ping-pong match of volcanic activity causing seismic activity and vice versa, causing the entire area to be unwieldy.
At least that guy who looks like he’s jerking off in Pompeii didn’t have to go through the whole “will they, or won’t they.”