A volcano is a mountain that opens downward to a reservoir of molten rock below the surface of the earth.  When pressure from gases and the molten rock becomes strong enough to cause an explosion, eruptions occur.  Volcanic eruptions are most likely in the Pacific Rim states of Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and California.  The chance of eruptions that could damage populated areas is the greatest for the active volcanoes of Hawaii and Alaska.  Active volcanoes of the Cascade Mountain Range in California, Oregon, and Washington have created problems recently.  The danger area around a volcano covers approximately a 20-mile radius.  Ash plumes from volcanoes can travel hundreds of miles, crating significant problems in other states such as Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

The major issue for JBPHH with Volcano's is the VOG.  Vog is a form of air pollution that results when sulfur dioxide and other gases and particles emitted by an erupting volcano react with oxygen and moisture in the presence of sunlight. The word is a portmanteau of the words "volcanic", "smog", and "fog". The term is in common use in the Hawaiian islands, where the Kīlauea volcano, on the Island of Hawaiʻi (aka "The Big Island"), has been erupting continuously since 1983.

The major issue for people  is that the Vog aerosols are acidic and of a size where they can remain in the lungs to damage the lungs and impair function.  Headaches, watery eyes, sore throat, breathing difficulties (including inducing asthma attacks), flu-like symptoms, and general lethargy are commonly reported.  These effects are especially pronounced in people with respiratory conditions and children. Vog generally reduces visibility, creating a hazard for drivers, and for air and ocean traffic.


(Last Updated: 9/4/14)


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