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Hawaii’s Kilauea Billows 2,500 MT of SO2

Posted by feww on December 2, 2009

Kilauea’s Halemaumau crater billows up to 2,500 metric tons of sulfur dioxide each day

The vog (volcanic fog) billowed out from Kilauea contains large quantities of sulfur dioxide which is killing crops in the Big Island.


With stagnant winds present, Halema`uma`u plume stands straight up, showing off the distant, but bright, full moon [Photo Date: November 13, 2008 ]. Photo Credit: M. Poland; Source: USGS

The U.S. Department of Agriculture declared Hawaii County a natural disaster area, which means the farmers there could apply for low interest loans from the federal government,  a report said.

However, it’s not known what the farmers are meant to do with the money, or how they would pay it back, since there’s no agreement with Kilauea concerning the  SO2 emissions!

In reality these loans should be “relocation grants” to allow the farmers leave the Big Island (in a hurry). As of December 2009, the only indication is that there would more SO2 billowing out of Kilauea in the coming weeks, month and possibly years. That situation could change, of course, but the farmers shouldn’t put too much hope in that.

“We can wash our trucks in the morning and in the afternoon you rub your hand across the top of the truck and it feels like sand paper,” said Phil Becker who, together with his wife, own  Aikane Plantation Coffee Company on the southern part of Big Island.

The Beckers previously grew and sold protea, however, vog has destroyed their plants.

“We’ve only got about three plants left after about 181 is what we started with and we’ve only got three that are trying to survive. It’s also impacted our cattle as far as the grass not recovering the way it usually does,” Phil Becker was reported as saying.

These days the Beckers are focusing their efforts on growing coffee … and even that is suffering. This year’s crop is about a third the size of a normal crop.

Not only So2 reacts with moisture in the air to give extremely corrosive sulfurous acid, which covers the leaves and stalks of plants, killing them, the deadly gas molecules also block the sun as they permeate the stratosphere and prevent needed sunshine from reaching the crops.

Kilauea Status Reports, Updates, and Information Releases

Aerial view of Pu`u `Ō `ō and vicinity

July 21 Eruption Near-view Map: November 25, 2009

Map showing the July 21, 2007 eruption flow field. The Thanksgiving Eve Breakout (TEB) flow is currently active and is that portion of the July 21, 2007 eruption flow field that extends south from the TEB vent to the ocean. Light red is the area of the flow as of November 7, 2009, while the bright red shows the flow field expansion that occurred between November 7 and November 25. Source of Image and Caption: HVO

HVO DAILY UPDATE Tuesday, December 1, 2009 7:47 AM HST (Tuesday, December 1, 2009 17:47 UTC)

KILAUEA VOLCANO (CAVW #1302-01-)
Coordinates: 19°25’16” N 155°17’13” W
Summit Elevation 4091 ft (1247 m)
Current Aviation Color Code: ORANGE
Current Volcano Alert Level: WATCH

Activity Summary for past 24 hours: Kilauea continued to erupt from two vents. At the summit, a lava pond was visible for several hours before draining and crusting over. Sulfur dioxide emission rates from the Halema`uma`u and east rift zone vents remain elevated. From the east rift zone vent, lava flows through tubes to the coast and is entering the ocean at several locations west of Kalapana.

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