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The Daily Volcano Quote: bombing Mauna Loa 2 March 2012

Posted by admin in daily volcano quote, Hawaii, Mauna Loa, United States.
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From the Army’s Hickham Field outside Pearl Harbor huge bombers departed five weeks ago on a new kind of mission. Their assignment was to bomb the famed volcano, Mauna Loa, on the island of Hawaii, 200 miles away. On April 26 restless Mauna Loa had rumbled into new activity, hurling tons of molten rock into the Pacific sky. Two days later, fountains of lava spouted from two fissures in the moutain-side, a few thousand feet below the summit. Like red snakes, twin lava rivers coiled down Mauna Loa’s skirts, piling up great ramparts of hot rock, firing forests, imperiling the city and harbour of Hilo, and threatening to dam its water supply. To divert these angry streams Army airmen dropped bombs in their path … By May 10 the disturbance had slackened, Hilo was safe, and Mauna Loa had subsided again into smoky slumber.

‘Army bombs Mauna Loa volcano to divert lava flow from Hilo Harbor’, Life, 1 June 1942, p. 36. The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory has an account of the 1942 eruption and the attempt to divert the lava by aerial bombing, noting that ‘Though most appeared to hit their mark, the bombs had little or no impact on the eruption or on the flow’s direction’.

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