Hawaii volcano: U-M expert available

May 4, 2018
Jim Erickson

EXPERTS ADVISORY

More than 1,000 residents have been ordered to evacuate after Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano erupted. A University of Michigan expert is available to discuss it.

Ben van der Pluijm is an expert on geological hazards and their societal impacts and a professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

“Hundreds of small and a few larger earthquakes have occurred in the past week—including a magnitude-5 on May 3—indicating that magma in the Kilauea volcano is on the move. Several surface fissures with magma fountains have already formed, and evacuation planning is under way for thousands of residents.

“This type of eruption is less dangerous to human life than stratovolcanoes like Mount St. Helens and Mount Pinatubo, which are characterized by explosive volcanism and large ash clouds that reach into the stratosphere,” van der Pluijm said. “Hawaiian volcanoes are characterized by red-hot magma that bubbles and flows. However, flowing hot lava destroys everything in its path. The Big Island is the most recent expression of millions of years of volcanism along the Hawaiian chain.”

Contact: 734-678-1397, vdpluijm@umich.edu