Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Oh those volcanoes.

While the Icelandic volcano continued to cause airspace havoc, one of the world's most active volcanoes on the Big Island (Hawaii) was emitting high amounts of dangerous sulfur dioxide gas (looks like smog). If you ate burritos for lunch, this would be the perfect place to visit because no one would notice your contribution to the overall air quality. Which I surmise to be poor at the best of times. A number of residents did tell me that asthma is a serious health concern on the island.

The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Service takes protection of visitors seriously. When high levels of gas are present, portions or all of the park may be closed. On the day of my visit, the Chain of Craters Road was closed for this reason. Or perhaps they heard I was coming and did not want me to inspect matters too closely.

Warnings cannot be missed. Unless of course you do not read English. In which case you may think these signs are a clever way to add color to an otherwise earthy palette. I say this with all due respect to molten lava, which I did not have an opportunity to see. Since clean air is one of my hygiene obsessions, my volcano visit was very short.

On a positive note, the contribution of volcanoes should not be overlooked. Namely, the creation of the Hawaiian Islands.

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