(BIVN) – The traumatic events associated with the new events on Kilauea Volcano have taken an emotional toll, not only on the community directly impacted by the eruption, but on the scientists charged with monitoring the fissures and lava flows, as well.
“I was in shock for at least a day,” said USGS scientist Wendy Stovall during a Wednesday conference call with media, after being asked about how she and her fellow geologists are handling the events. “I kind of was unable to process what I went through.”
Stovall said witnessing the eruption – and attempting to forecast what might happen next – has really touched her personally. Stovall said the events have also directly impacted other scientists at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, some of whom grew up in lower Puna.
“Going from the science of every day talking about volcanic processes and then actually seeing them impact people and their lives in such a devastating way,” Stovall said. “Its overwhelming to say the least.”
Scientists “often get blamed for not having any emotion”, Stovall said, “but I can tell you that we do.”
As federal employees, USGS scientists have access to counseling that could help them deal the troubling events. The scientists are also being encouraged to take care of themselves and to take time off.