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Diversion of Lava Flows by Aerial Bombing — Lessons from Mauna Loa Volcano

The folks over at the Pacific Aviation Museum just posted this on Facebook and I thought it needed to be given a bit more attention.

I always thought that the lava flows were pretty much unstoppable but this seems to prove otherwise.

I would have no problem with the military dropping a few bombs above Hilo if it meant saving the entire town!

…Explosives were first suggested as a means to divert lava flows threatening Hilo, Hawaii during the eruption of 1881. They were first used in 1935, without significant success, when the Army Air Force bombed an active pahoehoe channel and tube system on Mauna Loa’s north flank. Channel walls of a Mauna Loa flow were also bombed in 1942, but again there were no significant effects. The locations of the 1935 and 1942 bomb impact areas were determined and are shown for the first time, and the bombing effects are documented. Three days after the 1942 bombing the spatter cone surrounding the principal vent partially collapsed by natural processes, and caused the main flow advancing on Hilo to cease movement. This suggested that spatter cones might be a suitable target for future lava diversion attempts

You can read the full abstract here: Diversion of Lava Flows by Aerial Bombing – Lessons from Mauna Loa Volcano, Hawaii.