Geologists: Kilauea is no Mount St. Helens

Geologists: Kilauea is no Mount St. Helens

BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - Recent reports in national media outlets have compared steam-inducted eruptions at Kilauea's Halemaumau Crater to the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption.

Geologists, though, are not big fans of the analogy.

They told reporters Wednesday that eruptions at Kilauea, which could send boulders the size of cows flying through the air, are on a much smaller scale than the Mount St. Helens eruption.

Thirty-eight years ago, Mount St. Helens erupted fresh magma from its newly-formed crater for about eight hours, forming an enormous 80,000-foot-high plume that sent fragments five miles from its crater.

Scientists are comparing the eruptions at Kilauea, meanwhile, to those that happened at the summit in 1924, when steam-driven explosions hurled rocks onto the crater floor and eruption columns reached as high as 20,000 feet.

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