Beginning at approximately 11:30 p.m. Sunday in Moku‘āweoweo, the summit caldera of the Mauna Loa volcano inside Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island, the seemingly sudden eruption caught many off guard.
Of course, one group not caught off guard was the U.S. Geological Survey. Scientists there had been on alert because of a recent spike in earthquakes at the summit of the volcano, which last erupted in 1984. They had therefore already been warning those residents at risk from Mauna Loa lava flows to review their “eruption preparations”.
According to their latest “Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Status Report” (2:43 a.m. local time), “the eruption continues at the summit of Mauna Loa. All vents remain restricted to the summit area. However, lava flows in the summit region are visible from Kona. There is currently no indication of any migration of the eruption into a rift zone.”
Thankfully for the uninitiated individual such as me, the article went on to define “rift zones” as places where “the mountain is splitting apart, the rock is cracked and relatively weak and is easier for magma to emerge.”
Portions of the Big Island are also under an “ashfall advisory” issued by the National Weather Service in Honolulu, which said it expects that up to a quarter-inch of ash could accumulate in some areas.
The update concluded with these words: “The Volcano Alert Level and Aviation Color Code for Mauna Loa remains at WARNING/RED. HVO is continuing to monitor conditions carefully and will issue additional notices as needed.”
The news story itself finished with several tidbits of information about the volcano itself. Mauna Loa is one of five volcanoes that together make up the Big Island of Hawaii, the southernmost island in the Hawaiian archipelago. Rising 13,679 feet above sea level, it is the much larger neighbor to Kilauea volcano, which erupted in a residential neighborhood and destroyed 700 homes back in 2018.
Given that some of its slopes are much steeper than Kilauea’s, when it erupts, its lava can flow much faster. For instance, during a 1950 eruption, the Mauna Loa’s lava traveled a full 15 miles to the ocean in less than three hours.
The 1984 Mauna Loa eruption lasted for 20 days between March and April 1984. The intervening years since then have been the volcano’s longest quiet period in recorded history.
Given that I have never lived anywhere near an active volcano, I found the article quite informative. But I was also stuck by the fact that mountains and people may have something in common here. After all, we humans can all too often blow our tops as well! Sadly, when this happens, the outcome sometimes can be devastating to those around us!
The Bible writers recognize that anger is a part of being human. Even Jesus lost His temper when he overthrew the tables of the money-changers in the temple court in the Gospel of John, chapter 2, verses 13-16.
Yet the Bible also cautions us against fits of temper. James 1:20 reminds us that “human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires”. So, is it therefore right wrong to blow one’s top?
To begin with, I would argue that what Jesus displayed in the temple was more akin to righteous indignation. His anger was not self-centered, but rather on behalf of a Godly concern. Therefore, it was entirely justified.
Remember also that the same Bible also admonishes us to “be angry and sin not”. Both the Psalmist (chapter 4, verse 4) and the Apostle Paul (in his letter to the Ephesians, chapter 4, verse 26) use this phrase. How is this possible?
Perhaps the answer is best found in Jesus’ teachings in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, (in chapter 5, verse 22) where He cautions against being angry with one’s brother “without cause”. For me, this is the issue. Anger needs to be justified to be expressed.
And yet, so many today fly off the handle, lose their cool, and/or explode their tops with little or no justification. And in this regard, maybe the New Living Translation captures best the intent of Paul’s statement to the Ephesians when it says “don’t sin by letting anger control you”.
One thing is clear. It’s been the better part of four decades since the world’s biggest active volcano last blew its top. That is decidedly a good thing for all concerned. Maybe, just maybe, it managed that by venting some of the intense pressure from within itself little by little so that the destructive magna boiling inside did not spill over. In this way, it has not been known for continuously erupting.
And maybe, just maybe, we could benefit ourselves and others if we could learn to do much the same, and find ways to constructively let off steam so as not to let the anger within control us, and so as not to be seen as one who therefore erupts at the least little provocation!
Anyway, it’s worth a thought…
NEWS SOURCE: https://www.foxnews.com/us/hawaiis-mauna-loa-worlds-largest-active-volcano-starts-erupt-first-time-nearly-four-decades. The writer, Danielle Wallace, is a reporter for Fox News Digital covering politics, crime, police and more. Story tips can be sent to her at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @danimwallace.