After three months, Kilauea eruptions might be over

August 8, 2018 by  
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After more than three months of continuous eruption, Mount Kilauea on Hawaii’s Big Island has finally stopped emitting lava. At the base of Kilauea, fissure 8 has been the longest lasting and most destructive of the two dozen fissures that formed throughout the eruption, and its lava flow is now coming to a halt. United States Geological Survey (USGS)  announced Monday, “This morning’s overflight crew saw a weak to moderately active bubbling lava lake within the fissure 8 cone, a weak gas plume and a completely crusted lava channel.” The Halema’uma’u crater deflations have also slowed down, and the Pu’u ‘O’o vent has reduced its sulfur dioxide emissions, revealing magma within the crater to be at very low levels. But it is still unknown whether activity from Kilauea has subsided completely. “In 1955, there was an eruption that went on for 88 days, and it did include two shutdowns of five and 16 days, so that’s a model for what might be happening,” said Tina Neal, chief scientist at the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory . “It could be weeks or months before we feel comfortable calling the eruption and the summit collapse over.” Related: Mount Kilauea transforms Hawaii’s coastline with the birth of a new island The fissure has been responsible for spurts of deadly magma of over 200 feet and rare volcanic tornadoes of lava , fire, smoke and ash suspended in the air. All in all, the destruction has claimed more than 700 homes. Impending Hurricane Hector is expected to hit the Big Island next, where heavy rainfall could create a “white out” zone as the rain hits the molten lava and creates plumes of steam and sulfur dioxide. + USGS Via Reuters , New York Times and Maui Now Images via U.S. Geological Survey

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After three months, Kilauea eruptions might be over

Mount Kilauea transforms Hawaii’s coastline with the birth of a new island

July 18, 2018 by  
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Mount Kilauea may have disappeared from the news for a while, but it isn’t done surprising us yet: the Hawaiian volcano has officially created a new island in the Pacific Ocean. Geologists working at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) have reported the appearance of a tiny islet, measuring 20-30 feet in diameter, off the eastern shore of Hawaii . The new island was first seen by the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) when it conducted a fly-by of the volcanic area on Friday, July 13. Records from the USGS mark the island’s inception and official birth date as July 12. As of Monday, July 16, the baby island has been declassified, forced to abandon its status after a tether to the mainland developed over the weekend. The official term for the new congealed lava structure is ‘tumulus’. Tumuli evolve as slow-moving molten lava forces newly formed crust upward. Related: Hawaii’s Kilauea is creating its own weather The most reasonable explanation for the accumulation is the overflowing of lava from the volcano’s East Rift Zone. This molten river has continued its advance into the ocean for over a month, creating a submerged segment of new-but-unstable territory that stretches almost a half-mile outwards from Hawaii’s shoreline. Other scientists attribute the new island to Fissure 8, the most active of Kilauea’s volcanic fissures. In the future, it would be no surprise to see more changes to Hawaii’s coast. Kilauea, whose name means ‘spewing’ in Hawaiian, has been continuously erupting since 1983, with records dating back to the early 1800s. In fact, Kilauea tops the charts as one of the most active volcanoes in the world despite being one of Hawaii’s youngest. The 2018 eruption marks Kilauea’s 61st official incident. Regardless of the newbie island’s complicated classification status, Hawaii will eventually boast a newer, slightly larger coastline for tourists and environmental enthusiasts to admire. In fact, many visitors have already posted selfies with the volcano on social media despite warnings against it. However, it’s safe to assume that most of us are waiting for a less perilous way to explore Hawaii’s new treasures. Perhaps a good old Google Maps update is in order? + USGS Via Earther Images via USGS

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Mount Kilauea transforms Hawaii’s coastline with the birth of a new island

Kilauea’s crater has been dramatically altered by eruption

June 20, 2018 by  
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While Hawaii ‘s Kilauea volcano continues to erupt, this explosive episode of volcanic activity has already made a dramatic impact on the land, from the summit down to the ocean . Prior to the eruption, the crater summit presented as a massive lava pool. With the start of the eruption and the opening of fissures in early May, the lava drained from the crater toward lower ground. The subsequent explosions of ash and gas caused the crater to begin to collapse. Now, weeks later, the crater has become a steep, gray depression with a depth of 1,000 feet from the rim to its deepest point.   As the volcanic activity continues, so too does the deepening of the crater . The U.S. Geological Survey recently reported that the location of a GPS station within the crater dropped 200 feet within a week. Satellite images have helped to illustrate the speed and intensity with which the crater summit has deformed. “The fringes are so close together in the center of the caldera that they merge together and cannot be distinguished — a sign of the extreme and rapid style of subsidence happening at the summit!” wrote the USGS . Related: Kilauea lava boils away Hawaii’s largest freshwater lake in just a few hours While the images may be striking, Kilauea’s evolution is very much in line with what scientists expect to occur in the wake of an eruption and the subsequent draining of molten rock. “If you look at a lot of these big shield volcanoes, these collapse calderas are fairly common features,” Denison University volcanologist Erik Klemetti told Earther . Though such a crumbling of the caldera was anticipated, the ultimate conclusion of this eruptive event is yet to be determined. “I think it’s anybody’s guess,” Klemetti said. Meanwhile, the lava flow from the volcano is now more fluid and hotter than it was previously, posing a new, fast-moving danger to those in the region. Via Earther Images via USGS

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Hawaii’s Kilauea is creating its own weather

May 30, 2018 by  
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Volcanoes can “make their own weather ,” according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) — and the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii is doing just that. Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists have observed what are called pyrocumulus clouds, which could possibly turn unstable and cause thunderstorms, over the Kilauea fissure system in Leilani Estates. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = ‘https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v3.0’; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’)); Did you know that volcanoes can make their own weather? #HVO scientists are beginning to observe "pyrocumulus" clouds… Posted by USGS Volcanoes on  Monday, May 28, 2018 Pyrocumulus clouds, or flammagenitus clouds or fire clouds, are often caused by fires. Digging into the science behind the clouds above Kilauea, USGS said they form “when intense heating of the air from the ground induces convection, which causes the air mass to rise to a point of stability, usually in the presence of moisture (which condenses and forms the cloud).” Related: 1,000-foot-long fissure opens on Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano amid fears of an explosive eruption USGS shared a photograph on Facebook of a pyrocumulus cloud above Kilauea’s Fissure 8, and said there was another such cloud above the volcano’s Lower East Rift Zone. That cloud rose up to an estimated 3.7 miles, and they said it was described as “tightly roiling and set apart from other stratus clouds.” In a recent status update , USGS said Fissure 8 fountained as high as 200 feet into the air. Volcanic gas emissions from Kilauea are still high due to fissure eruptions. Since trade winds could return in upcoming days, vog — or smog with volcanic dust and gases — could impact the southern and western sides of the Big Island. Everyday, a team of #USGS scientists canvass areas along Kilauea Volcano’s east Lower Rift Zone. #science #KilaueaErupts #volcano pic.twitter.com/wCug0tF8eF — USGS (@USGS) May 30, 2018 The USGS also said Pele’s hair — threads of volcanic glass named after the Hawaiian goddess of fire and volcanoes — “and other lightweight volcanic glass from high fountaining of Fissure 8 are being transported downwind and falling to the west of the fissure…Residents are urged to minimize exposure to these volcanic particles, which can cause skin and eye irritation similar to volcanic ash.” + USGS Volcanoes Facebook + USGS Kilauea Updates Via Earther Image via U.S. Geological Survey

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The number of electric vehicles on the streets could triple in two years

May 30, 2018 by  
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Good news for the planet: the electric vehicle (EV) industry hit a new record last year, with more than one million EVs sold, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). The result? There are now over three million electric vehicles on roads worldwide. And if that weren’t good enough news,  Bloomberg has reported  that the number of EVs traveling the streets could triple in just two years. The IEA just released their Global EV Outlook 2018 report, and it contains some exciting news for the electric vehicle industry. On average, sales could climb 24 percent each year up to 2030, and by the end of this decade alone, the global EV fleet could boast 13 million vehicles. The number of electric buses increased to 370,000 from 345,000 in 2016, and there are now 250 million electric two-wheelers such as scooters or motorcycles. Related: World’s first electric road that charges moving vehicles debuts in Sweden In their press release on the report, IEA said China is still the world’s biggest electric car market; it accounted for over half of the electric cars sold in 2017, with almost 580,000 cars total. The United States followed with approximately 280,000 cars sold last year. To keep up, the world will require at least 10 more battery gigafactories , Bloomberg said. Demand for cobalt and lithium is increasing and could rise tenfold unless technological advances reduce that figure. 60 percent of cobalt in the world is mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where child labor still occurs, so battery manufacturers have been pressured to show their wares are made sustainably. Charging infrastructure is keeping pace with the electric mobility revolution, according to the IEA, which said there were nearly three million private chargers around the world at homes and workplaces in 2017. There were also 430,000 public chargers, and about one-quarter of those were fast chargers . The IEA credited electric vehicle growth largely to “government policy, including public procurement programs, financial incentives reducing the cost of purchase of EVs, tightened fuel-economy standards and regulations on the emission of local pollutants, low- and zero-emission vehicle mandates and a variety of local measures.” + Global EV Outlook 2018 + International Energy Agency Via Bloomberg Image via Wikimedia Commons

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Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano erupts, forcing hundreds of residents to evacuate

May 4, 2018 by  
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Kilauea, the most active volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island, erupted late yesterday after a spate of earthquakes . The state’s governor, David Ige, declared a local state of emergency. There are active volcanic vents on the Makamae and Mohala streets, and hundreds of residents have been ordered to evacuate. The eruption on Thursday took place at Kilauea volcano’s East Rift Zone — and Hawaii News Now said Leilani Estates subdivision residents fled with little but the clothes they were wearing. There was another eruption on Friday, and at least a dozen more earthquakes have shaken the area. Related: After 250 earthquakes in 24 hours, Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano might erupt In the wake of the eruption, schools have closed, and so has a geothermal power plant. The Hawaii Fire Department reported “extremely high levels of dangerous sulfur dioxide gas detected in the evacuation area.” The County of Hawaii Civil Defense Agency has ordered mandatory evacuations for multiple subdivisions, and Gizmodo reported  that around 1,700 people reside in the immediate evacuation area, although more than 10,000 people live in the volcano’s vicinity. Emergency shelters opened at community centers. Ige has activated Hawaii’s National Guard, and Hawaii senator Brian Schatz said on Twitter that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is mobilizing resources and is monitoring “for forest fires , power outages, and water supply disruption.” Hawaii News Now spoke to Ikaika Marzo, who was one of the first people in Leilani Estates to see active lava , and he reportedly saw fountains about 100 feet high. Another local resident told the news outlet, “My family is safe, the rest of the stuff can be replaced. When I bought here 14 years, I knew that this day would eventually come. But the reality is sinking in now.” + County of Hawaii Via Hawaii News Now and Gizmodo Images via U.S. Geological Survey

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Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano erupts, forcing hundreds of residents to evacuate

Historic Australian church transformed into a stunning family home for five

May 4, 2018 by  
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Doherty Design Studio  has revamped a 1910 church in Hawthorn, Australia into a lovely light-filled house for a family of five. While the renovation isn’t the church’s first residential adaptation, the recent restoration has combined contemporary design with features representative of the building’s past, like the stunning stained-glass windows installed throughout. Before Doherty Design Studio got their hands on the project, the 1910 Hawthorn church had already been extended with an apartment as part of a larger residential complex developed over two decades ago. Still, some elements of the house of worship’s past were retained, such as the ivy-covered brick facade, arched doorways and windows, and original timber beams. Related: Architects convert old Dutch church into a gorgeous library As expected, natural light floods the bright and airy interior, which features crisp white walls offset by a variety of floor textures, from cool terrazzo in the bathroom to the wood parquet flooring in the office and kitchen. Stained glass adds color into the space as well as a nod to the building’s heritage. A custom-made, aged-bronze chandelier , designed by Christopher Boots, hangs opposite three stained-glass windows and provides a striking contemporary focal point. + Doherty Design Studio Via Yellow Trace Images via Doherty Design Studio , by Derek Swalwell

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Historic Australian church transformed into a stunning family home for five

New photosynthesis machine is twice as efficient at creating hydrogen fuel

May 4, 2018 by  
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Researchers at the University of Michigan and McGill University in Montreal have created a device that uses sunlight to efficiently split fresh or salt water into hydrogen that may be used in fuel cells. The new machine, which mimics the process of photosynthesis , is capable of producing hydrogen fuel at twice the efficiency of previous technologies. Producing only water as an emission, hydrogen is the cleanest burning fuel. However, its production has historically not been environmentally friendly or energy efficient. This new device may change all that, paving the way to a cleaner energy future. “If we can directly store solar energy as a chemical fuel, like what nature does with photosynthesis, we could solve a fundamental challenge of renewable energy,” said lead researcher Zetian Mi . Unlike solar panels, which can only store energy if they are attached to a battery, the artificial photosynthesis device uses splits water to store solar energy as hydrogen fuel. Despite this fundamental difference from solar panels , the device is made from the same materials, such as silicon and gallium nitride, which is also found in LEDs. Related: Scientists create world’s first solar fuel reactor that works at night Small towers of gallium nitride generate an electric field to turn photons into free charges, which divide water into its two component elements, oxygen and hydrogen. In contrast with previous solar splitters, which had only reached 1 percent efficiency, Mi’s team managed to achieve a 3 percent solar-to-hydrogen efficiency. “Although the 3 percent efficiency might seem low, when put in the context of the 40 years of research on this process, it’s actually a big breakthrough,” Mi said. “Natural photosynthesis, depending how you calculate it, has an efficiency of about 0.6 percent.” The device, further developed, may even be able to pull carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, potentially alleviating the impact of climate change . Via Futurity Images via Faqrul A. Chowdhury/McGill University

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New photosynthesis machine is twice as efficient at creating hydrogen fuel

Mesmerizing lava skylights give a glimpse under the Earths surface

June 24, 2016 by  
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Volcanoes get a bad rap in the movies, but what goes on underneath the Earth’s crust can actually be a beautiful scene – especially if we can get a glimpse of it. The Kilauea volcano’s recent lava breakouts in Hawaii were captured on film, including its hypnotizing “skylights” , where the crust breaks and the fiery lava flow can be seen from above. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITJ6HLHtzuc Lava tubes that form underneath the Earth’s surface can sometimes become too wide for the hardened crust on top to bear. Helicopters observed a spot where the tube had collapsed, revealing the red hot flow underneath. The “skylight” is estimated to be about 20 feet across and the speed of the rushing lava could be as fast as two meters per second. Related: Ecuadorian volcano ejects ash nearly five miles into the sky The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory describes the phenomenon as “capillaries beneath the skin,” a vivid image of the life-giving marvels that carry on just outside our awareness. Seeing just what nature is up to offers a rare peek at the little known charms in the deep corners of the world. Via The Huffington Post Images via Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

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Mesmerizing lava skylights give a glimpse under the Earths surface

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