Hawai’i’s Mauna Loa Volcanic Eruption Sparing Homes For Now

12:05 minutes

an aerial photograph of a volcanic eruption happening on a relatively straight plane of dark earth. the flames and magma from the eruption spew white smoke that turns black as it billows higher up into the sky
The Mauna Loa volcanic eruption on November 29, 2022. Credit: Hawaiian Volcano Observatory/NPS

Hawai’i’s famed Mauna Loa volcano began to erupt this past weekend, after weeks of increasing small earthquakes. So far the flow of lava is posing no risk to homes in nearby Hilo, though that could change rapidly. But in the meantime, an important climate research lab is without power and unable to make measurements. And as lava flows and cools into new rock formations, one unusual product, called Pele’s Hair, looks uniquely soft and straw-like—while being dangerously sharp.

Ira talks to FiveThirtyEight’s Maggie Koerth about the less high profile side effects of a major volcanic eruption. Plus, a new analysis of the magma under Yellowstone National Park, the leadership potential for wolves infected with a cat parasite, and other research stories.

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Segment Guests

Maggie Koerth

Maggie Koerth is a science journalist based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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Ira Flatow is the host and executive producer of Science FridayHis green thumb has revived many an office plant at death’s door.

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