Iceland ash cloud: could it happen in Hawaii? - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Iceland ash cloud: could it happen in Hawaii?

VOLCANO, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The volcano in Iceland continues spew out tons of ash bringing air traffic to a stop in much of Europe. The ash cloud has gone more than 20,000 feet in the sky. If a plane flew through, the ash could cause the engines to fail, so most flights are grounded.

Hawaii News Now talked to geophysicist Mike Poland at the Hawaii Volcano Observatory to see if this is something that could happen here in Hawaii.

It turns out similar eruptions have happened as recently as 1790, but it's not likely to happen again anytime soon. That's because Kilauea's lava isn't in contact with water anymore, and the ice cap is contributing to the power of the eruption in Iceland.

"We would need to see some sort of event that would bring water into the system, a drop in the caldera. Regardless, it would be a major change in the pattern of behavior at Kilauea" said Poland.

Geophysicists say Kilauea was much more active a couple hundred years ago, spewing ash thousands of feet high. Since Kilauea is so closely monitored, scientists think they would know if an eruption was going to happen, far in advance. 

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly