The ongoing eruption of Kilauea is interesting for a number of Metabunk related reasons.
Firstly there's the association of volcanos with the solar radiation management proposals in the field of geoengineering. Volcanoes spew a lot of sulphur dioxide and ash into the air which (simplifying) makes it hazy and reflects sunlight back into space. This most famously happened with Mount Pinatubo in 1991
Kilauea is a very different type of eruption — more like a big gas leak than a huge explosion, but it's still (like most active volcanos) a source of sulfur dioxide and a factor in the global climate. Studying how the increase in emissions affects things will tell us a little more about how we might use similar mechanisms for geoengineering — or how we might not want to use them if the side effects are worse than the cure. Drawing attention to the real science of geoengineering is a valuable way of reaching people who are convinced that the government is already secretly doing geoengineering with "chemtrails" being sprayed from planes.When Mount Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines June 15, 1991, an estimated 20 million tons of sulfur dioxide and ash particles blasted more than 12 miles (20 km) high into the atmosphere. The eruption caused widespread destruction and loss of human life. Gases and solids injected into the stratosphere circled the globe for three weeks. Volcanic eruptions of this magnitude can impact global climate, reducing the amount of solar radiation reaching the Earth's surface, lowering temperatures in the troposphere, and changing atmospheric circulation patterns. The extent to which this occurs is an ongoing debate.
Large-scale volcanic activity may last only a few days, but the massive outpouring of gases and ash can influence climate patterns for years. Sulfuric gases convert to sulfate aerosols, sub-micron droplets containing about 75 percent sulfuric acid. Following eruptions, these aerosol particles can linger as long as three to four years in the stratosphere.
An even more extreme conspiracy theory is that the eruption was triggered deliberately, perhaps with a supposed mega-weapon like HAARP (which is incapable of doing anything other than briefly exciting a tiny spot of the atmosphere on the edge of space above Alaska). The reasons given for doing this will likely be related to the "Agenda 21" conspiracy theory, which says the elite want to drive people from their land and force them to live in city apartments so the elite can have the countryside for safaris and suchlike. This (fringe) belief will be bolstered by the affected land being "homesteads" – a house with a few acres.
As that's such a nonsensical and scientifically implausible theory it's a bit tricky to address, especially with the mix of strongly felt libertarian politics. But perhaps the coverage of Kilauea will help a few people better understand the science behind eruptions, and how they are both inevitable and currently beyond the control of humanity.
Finally the images of red hot lava rolling over people's lawns and around trees might help a few people understand the problems with the theory that unburnt trees next to burnt-out houses is evidence that the houses were zapped with energy beams from space (again as part of agenda 21). Having a very hot thing a few feet from a tree does not automatically mean the tree bursts into flames.
For me and millions of school kids, volcanoes have always been associated with a fun and accessible side of science. Hopefully the net result of the current attention on Kilauea will be a rise in interesting in that science, and not a rise in interest in unfounded conspiracy theories.
Location Hawaii island, Hawaii, United States 19.463°N 154.899°W
Impact Lava fountains, lava flows, volcanic gas and earthquakes have forced evacuation in populated areas and caused the destruction of houses, roads and utilities.
The 2018 lower Puna eruption, which began May 3, 2018 is an ongoing volcanic event on the island of Hawaii on Kīlauea volcano’s East Rift Zone featuring outbreaks of lava fountains up to 300 feet (90 m) high, lava flows and volcanic gas in the Leilani Estates subdivision on the island of Hawai’i. As of May 6, 2018, the eruption has resulted in the destruction of 26 houses in the subdivision. This volcanic event is the 62nd episode of the ongoing east rift zone eruption that began in January 1983.
[Above image] Lava from a fissure slowly advanced to the northeast on Hoʻokāpu Street in Leilani Estates subdivision (May 5, 2018)