- Hawaii, Kilauea Volcano -
It was on the 3rd of may when the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory issued an evacuation order for hundreds of people. A fissure had opened up near the indigenous volcanic structure Kilauea, causing alarm for scientist at the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The half a mile long crack in the earth would be the first of 24 to open in an eruption event that would go on to last to this day. Pelehonuamea or Pele for short, the Hawaiian goddess believed to reside in Kilauea's crater, had unleashed her wrath on her native people. Credited to the swift response time at the observatory, the eruption has yet to take any lives and there has only been one serious injury. Although i wish the same could be said for the actual island itself. 500 homes have been destroyed already leaving an immense amount of people homeless. Thankfully the president has directed that financial assistance be provided to the people who did lose their homes. Pele also claimed a legendary victim when lava flow completely evaporated Green Lake, the biggest lake in the entire state. Legend has it that the goddess would come down to bathe in the lake herself. If the loss of their lake wasn't shocking enough for residents, the collapse of Kilauea's crater would be. Geologist do not exactly know what consequences that will have on the eruption as it continues.
- Guatemala, Vulcan de Fuego -
A woman mourns the loss of her daughter on live television. A child that would be one of the hundred lives taken by the devastating eruption of Vulcan de Fuego. The native volcano blew its top on June 6 sending pyroclastic flow flying for miles into the surrounding population. A deadly combination of lava fragments, scorching ash, and toxic gas, anyone caught in the "plow" would perish a painful death. Destruction followed taking more lives adding to the death toll, and leaving over 500 people injured and thousands homeless. 200 people were reported missing in the devastation. In spite search efforts even with the assistance of an expert team of disaster response team from Mexico, few have been found. Later the government of Guatemala would call off the rescue effort permanently due to hazardous conditions. Although some citizens have stated to believe the government to have turned its back on them. Entire families were ripped away from some victims in this disaster, so one could understand their anger in how their "leaders" went about this catastrophic event. It wasn't over yet either. Fear among the people amplified when a second volcano, known as Pacaya, erupted about a mile away from a local geothermal power plant.
- Similarities & Differences -
5,000 miles apart, the two eruptions will both go down in history. For some reasons more different then others. But why were these two events so different. Well for starters they are to completely different types of volcano all together. Fuego is what is known as a stratovolcano, the popular cone structure envisioned when discussing the subject. These volcanoes produce lava that is more explosive doe to high amounts of gases. The prime cause of the pyroclastic flow that claimed all of those peoples lives. Kilauea however is a shield volcano. More known for forming in clusters that usually create island chains. Shield volcanoes tend to produce a less gassy more runny kind of lava that can flow for great distances reaping havoc on any land it comes across. Fissure 8 in this case producing huge rivers of lava flow responsible for plenty of the damage done so far and already reaching the ocean. The different kinds of lava form different types of chaos. Guatemala's being quick but violent and Hawaii's slow yet destructive. Another key difference is the way both governments involved in these calamities have handled the eruptions so far. from the very beginning geologist at the HVO have been ahead of the situation every step of the way. Shutting down national parks, calling for proper evacuation orders ahead of time, and even emptying all the flammable liquid at geothermal plant. It is because of their efforts that the eruptions, despite all the destruction, have yet to cause any fatalities. The citizens of Guatemala were not nearly as fortunate. With little warning and almost no time to escape it was the worst eruption they had experience in a hundred years. Add to that the horrible way the government has dealt with things and matters worsen. A variety of factors that lead to a much more costly outcome.
Put aside their vast differences and you'll see some similarities as well. To this day both volcanoes continue to erupt, causing billions of dollars worth of damage, and some losses even more priceless. They will both leave a permanent mark on the Earth as we know it. Although there have been countless other eruptions this year, these two stand out the most. And with neither volcanoes having an end in sight one can't help but worry if the worst has yet to come.