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Tags: caldera, Cl-36, helicopter, Mauna Loa, NERZ, rift
Categories : Picture posts, Science
Here’s a big surprise: I’m exhausted yet again! Today was another early day, but lurching out of bed at an ungodly hour was for a good cause. You get a picture story because I’m not feeling particularly articulate right now.
Our ride arrived quite dramatically.
Once we had liftoff, the view towards Hawai’i's eastern coast just opened up.
To the northwest I could see Mauna Kea and the Northeastern Rift Zone (NERZ). The NERZ is where lava erupted through one of Mauna Loa’s flanks and poured down towards the town of Hilo.
The different types of lava flows are readily observed when you’re up in the air.
The helicopter dropped us off and went to move the other team of geologists working on the mountain. I was with a volcanologist who wasn’t afraid of taking pictures of me. Check out my stylish flight suit. In this scene I was recording our location with a GPS (global positioning system).
It just doesn’t get any cheesier or cooler than this.
After we were done collecting our samples, the pilot flew us back down by way of the caldera. The small cone in the middle of the caldera was created during Mauna Loa’s 1940 eruption. So cool.
The helicopter was one of the most fun things I’ve ever experienced. Flying over the world’s largest mountain in a helicopter (with no doors) on your way to do research is just a surreal activity. Ok, probably more to come. I need sleep, but there’s a 3.5-day weekend just ahead!
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Tags: halema`uma`u, helicopter, kilauea, Mauna Loa, vog
Categories : Picture posts
Today was very voggy. No, I haven’t developed a spelling problem. When volcanoes emit SO2 gas (sulfur dioxide), things can get very stinky very quickly. The result is a wonderful substance known as vog. Usually the vog from Halema`uma`u is blown by the trade winds and it heads away from HVO, the National Park Visitor Center, and our house. However, there are times when the trade winds take a day off. The vog is dangerous to breathe in and can lead to evacuation of the park. Fortunately, today the vog returned to its visitor-friendly direction and no evacuation was necessary. Here’s a very voggy shot I took on my lunch break.
In case you didn’t know or don’t want to take the time to click the link, the vent in the picture just opened explosively on March 19, 2008. It’s brand new! Here’s a link to the webcam that provides a live feed from the vent: Halema`uma`u Live! Even if it’s dark outside, go check it out. At night you can see the glow from inside even when it’s pitch black everywhere else.
Yesterday and today have consisted mainly of paperwork and training. I passed my IT security training as well as my helicopter flight training. Most of today was spent reading scientific papers about Mauna Loa’s history and evolution, and of course I’m still trying to remember the names of the (seemingly) 800 people I’ve met.
My boss told me about the projects I’ll be working on, and next week is going to be incredible. On Monday we’re driving up to the summit of Mauna Loa to collect samples from explosion fields. The oldest flow we will be working on is from 1859. I’ll talk more about the samples later. Tuesday will be time to process some of the samples and get a flight suit for me in anticipation of Wednesday. That’s when the astoundingly exciting happens: I get to go on a special mission to the summit of Mauna Loa…in a helicopter! We’ll be covering much more ground (and air) that way. It’s also pretty neat that they actually call it a “mission.”
This weekend will be relaxing and preparing for next week’s insanity. If I go anywhere with relevant geology, I’ll make sure to write about it.