Back to Kilauea

It’s no secret; I’m hard to impress. I’ve seen a lot, done a lot, been places, learned stuff, bought the tee-shirts. I’m not willfully hard to impress; I don’t resist being impressed. It’s just that after all these years it takes something genuinely impressive.

Like volcanoes. They’re impressive. Something about lava really grabs me. Rock running like molasses; I want to play in it. Yet somehow there is only one volcano in my heart: Kilauea on the Big Island of Hawai’i. I’m so impressed I did two Wednesday Wow posts about it.

And this baby makes three…

Actually, it’s the fourth post about Kilauea. Cooled Lava Hellscape wasn’t in the Wednesday Wow series because it was a spring equinox post.

I suppose I care about Kilauea because I got so involved with it, watching it live (with chat), and with analyzing downloaded USGS earthquake data for it. I even made animated videos from that data. (See the first post for some examples of that work.)

I got pretty into it for a while, and I’ve kept my eye on it ever since. I wrote that first post just after Pele quieted from her 2018 awakening. I wrote the second post about five months later. Pele had been quiet, so that post was a review of the events.

Lava emitted from various fissure vents during the 2018 eruption of Kilauea. Note the thickness of the flow! [from the USGS; click for big]

The volcano has been fairly quiet ever since — just occasional rumblings, no eruptions. The collapsed caldera filled with mineral-rich ground water (it was yellow-green).

Kilauea and mineral water lake last November. The white plumes are steam and smoke. The lava began shortly after. [photo from USGS]

Last December, just before Christmas, the lava returned to the mountain top. That huge collapsed section began filling with lava, and that small flow has continued to this day (for almost a year now).

Kilauea as it looks this November. The lava still trickles in where that smoke plume is. [photo from USGS]

The photos provide little sense of scale, but it’s a lot of lava. And the hard crust on top hides the molten lake beneath.


The lack of attention my last three posts about the volcano got suggest most don’t find this anywhere near as interesting as I do, so at this point I’ll just leave you with a bunch of (very short) USGS videos to enjoy. As I mentioned, lava fascinates me!





§ §

Stay impressive, my friends! Go forth and spread beauty and light.

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

11 responses to “Back to Kilauea

  • SelfAwarePatterns

    Hmmm. I hear playing in the lava flow might be a bad career move.

    I do find it interesting that volcanic ash is an important fertilizer. Makes you wonder if active tectonics is a requirement for life.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Well, it seems to work out okay for all those action stars in the movies. How bad could it be? (Meanwhile, in the real world, you can’t even get close to the stuff without a Nomex suit.) What cracks me up is that, on worlds like Pluto, liquid water would be the equivalent of lava. 🙂

      Interesting thought; the life-cycle of the world. One can certainly see why Gaia theories are attractive. The world does seem to provide for us. (Or we evolved within that framework, so of course we leverage it.)

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        What? You mean Frodo and Sam wouldn’t have survived until the eagles came? Or Darth Vader until Palpatine showed up? I am shocked, shocked to discover they got this wrong!

        Gaia theories are interesting. I think everyone acknowledges that there is ongoing interaction between the biosphere and the overall environment. But the idea that the whole thing is a homeostatic organism seems questionable. (Not to mention a dangerous assumption since it seems to imply it might adjust for what we’re doing in order to maintain equilibrium. Of course, I’ve seen it noted that the adjustment might involve our eradication.)

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Shocking, I know! Usually the movies are so careful about accuracy to real life. Someone in Hollywood clearly messed up.

        Yeah, Gaia for me is metaphorical at best. I do appreciate the metaphor, but there’s no “being” behind it, no will or consciousness. (And, as you suggest, probably luckily for us.)

        I started watching the new live-action Cowboy Bebop on Netflix the other night. Loved the first episode, but by episode three I was turned off. They got so much right but, as usual, it’s the new material they’ve added that misses. They got the look, the music, a lot of the feel, but somehow the core is off. It might just be that live-action of animation is problematic. Some things just work better as cartoons.

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        I’m watching Cowboy Bebop too. Four episodes in, I’m still enjoying it. But since I wasn’t that taken with the original, the changes don’t bother me. I’m actually finding Spike and Faye’s motivations more understandable, and so them more sympathetic.

        The one thing I find excessive is keeping everyone in the same clothes all the time (aside from Faye in one episode). It makes sense in anime since the clothes are part of the character identification. But keeping to it in live action feels like they’re trying too hard. I’m also disappointed to hear that Ed only shows up at the end of the season.

        We’ll see if my enjoyment continues.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        I don’t hate it, but I definitely don’t love it. I was really looking forward to it, too, and that first episode made it seem like a hit. Yeah, some differences, but that first episode really worked well for me. I was pretty thrilled.

        But then in ep 2 they introduce this business with Jet’s ex-wife and kid, and he’s trying to buy The Expensive Hard-to-Find Special Present for her birthday to make up for being an absent dad. OMG. That storyline was a stupid outworn cliche in that awful Schwarzenegger movie, WTF is it doing here? That’s not Jet, and that’s not the Cowboy Bebop ethic or tone. It’s a huge miss to me.

        It gets worse in ep 3 where we get the cliche of his finally getting The Expensive Hard-to-Find Special Present but it gets destroyed. It hurt my brain to watch, and I had to stop after that episode (I’d planned to watch at least five; all ten if it was good.) Wasn’t real happy with how they changed the Ein plotline, either. Terrorist revenge plot felt a bit too modern sensibility. The illegal science lab was more along the show’s ethic.

        Funny thing. After being so disappointed by what I saw as poor writing, I started re-watching the original again. I’ve never watched the dubbed version, so I thought I’d give that a try. It’s so much better in contrast. It’s somehow right, natural, adult, original. I think it’s that last one that stands out most. The Netflix show is a remake, an effort to copy something. It has a need, a desperation, to succeed the original didn’t.

        And I’ve realized, as a matter of personal taste, live-action versions of animations and comics usually don’t work that well for me. Some stories are too fantastic to be visualized that concretely. They belong in books, comics, and animations.

        Interesting point about the clothing, you’re right (at least as far as ep 3 or 4). I think it’s part of their devotion to getting the look right, and they generally nailed it. I applaud the visuals and music (it is by Yoko Kanno and the Seatbelts; can’t be more authentic than that).

        But,… well, did you see the video I posted in this comment? My issue with the writing is that some of it was childish. (Like that doll and ex-wife business.) Bits of it so much so I felt Cho was channeling a bit of Harold & Kumar. You know I love humor, but I think it’s the wrong tone for Cowboy Bebop.

        That is too bad about Ed. Maybe we’ll see more Ed in the next season? (Or will it end as the original? I’m betting they’d like to continue, so no?)

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        “Love” is far too strong a word for my feelings about it. I’m enjoying it, but I obviously haven’t binged my way through it. It’s actually pretty rare these days for me to love a show. (Although it’s probably accurate to say I loved Arcane.)

        The gift thing was definitely contrived, but I didn’t mind. I kind of liked how Ein got worked in, explaining how they ended up with an expensive dog they won’t sell. In general, I’m finding the reasons why the characters do things in this version make more sense. But maybe I just wasn’t paying sufficient attention in the original.

        No idea if they’re heading toward the same ending. They seem to be accelerating the Vicious arc, or at least frontloading it more. But yeah, waiting to bring in Ed implies a season 2 (or at least a hope for one).

      • Wyrd Smythe

        The way they’ve implemented Vicious is another complaint I have. The frontloading is fine, but they’re trying to make his villainy justified and reactive — he’s bad in reaction to how the organization treats him. This is another modern conceit I find annoying. The Good Guys now have to be shitty, and the Bad Guys now have to have bad childhoods or whatever. I like how anime gives insight into villains, can even make you question who is really right, but this compression of character in Western storytelling I don’t care for.

        The man’s name is Vicious. He’s been a villain a long time to earn that name.

        It wasn’t just the gift, but the whole ex-wife thing. That’s just not who Jet is. That I think is what bugs me most. They got the look and music so good, but somehow their interpretation of the two main characters misses for me.

  • Anonymole

    So, you died and are risen… (Dead Man Switch?) Or was that the switch?

    La Palma videos have been stunning. I’m sure you’ve watched a few of those. “Pele’s cup hath runneth over” This was me using my phone’s camera to capture the TV’s Youtube playing of this video. I don’t recall the actual video. But wow, what a gusher.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Heh, yeah, I clicked the wrong button and accidentally published. (Actually, it was the right button, but wrong settings. I thought I was scheduling to post next January, but forgot to change the year, so rather than [Schedule] the button said [Publish] and I didn’t notice until just after I clicked it. D’oh!) I’m aging and live alone, so I do have a “dead man switch” post so I don’t fall through the cracks. Its “trigger date” (12/31/2021) was approaching, so I was trying to change it to January. (It turned out to be an interesting experiment in “who gives a shit” — you’re #3 who even noticed.)

      The hot blood of the Earth. (Cracks me up that, on Pluto, liquid water would be “lava.”) Did you ever read Hal Clement’s Iceworld? I mentioned it back on this post, but in that comment section we talked about David Brin’s Sundiver and beings from hot worlds. Clement’s book goes the other way. (Clement is another favorite of mine. Diamond hard SF.)

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Died and are risen is a different holiday; Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂

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