January 3, 2010 – Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii
VIDEO by David Corrigan
Officials have planned a long list of events in January to compliment Volcano Awareness Month, but apparently Pele had her own ideas on how the kick off event should be handled.
Saturday’s opening press conference at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, originally scheduled to be held on the scenic Jaggar Museum overlook, was forced indoors when shifting winds blew dangerous volcanic emissions over the popular Big Island park.
As the press arrived to film the special event, they were met with thick vog, the ominous beeping of handheld air monitors signaling dangerous sulfur dioxide levels, and park rangers in gas masks. One ranger said the measurements had even reached 14 parts per million, a number rarely seen at the overlook location (the monitors sound off at 3 ppm). The plume from Kilauea’s Halemaumau vent normally tends to blow southwest, thanks to the steady tradewinds that grace the island.
Perhaps Pele, the legendary goddess of fire said to reside within the volcano, wanted to punctuate the kick off event for Volcano Awareness Month in her own way.
The following videos, shot from the safe indoor haven of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory adjoining the Jaggar Museum, document the short series of speakers at the kick off. The designated month is intended to “promote the importance of understanding and respecting the volcanoes on which we live” according to HVO.
The HVO joins the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii County Civil Defense, and the University of Hawaii at Hilo in organizing the hikes, talks, and workshops marking the occasion. The event also marks the 27th anniversary of Kilauea’s ongoing east rift zone eruption, which started on January 3, 1983.
Big Island Video News will have more coverage from these special events, including a rare hike to the active hazard zone beyond the Hawaii County lava viewing area, for a closer look at the Waikupanaha ocean entry.