Lion of the Blogosphere

Hawaii has a vog problem

I never heard of “vog” until yesterday. (It’s certainly not something that the Hawaii Tourism Authority wants anyone to know about.) Vog is Mother Nature’s air pollution, it comes from active volcanoes, and it can be as bad or even worse than man-made pollution.

Because the Big Island has an especially active volcano, Kilauea, the city of Hilo which is east of Kilauea is the most heavily polluted from vog. But when there are “Kona winds” which can blow from southeast to northwest, then all of the other islands can get vog from Kilauea.

Vog aside, living on the Big Island sounds like a bad idea, because an island full of active volcanoes is a natural disaster waiting to happen.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

September 21, 2017 at 10:26 am

Posted in Science

17 Responses

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  1. Curle

    September 21, 2017 at 10:50 am

    • Indeed. I remember the reporting on that back in the day.


      September 23, 2017 at 12:15 pm

  2. The volcanoes by themselves are enough of a problem, but you usually have days or even weeks to get out of the way of an impending eruption. The bigger problem to my way of thinking is that volcanoes go hand in hand with seismic activity, and earthquakes occur with no warning.

    Anywhere you might live in the USA there are going to be natural disasters to contend with. Hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, blizzards, earthquakes, wildfires, you name it. I live in suburban southern California, so earthquakes are our biggest threat and we get a good strong shake about once every 20 years, The last sizable quake was in 1994 (I don’t count the Chino Hills quake, that was “only” a 5.8) so we’re probably due for one.

    Sgt. Joe Friday

    September 21, 2017 at 11:10 am

    • “Anywhere you might live in the USA there are going to be natural disasters to contend with.”

      I disagree. Inland areas of the northeast seem to be pretty free from natural disasters as long as you don’t live near riverbanks that overflow.

      Blizzards are annoying, but they don’t cause much in the way of serious property damage. There’s always the danger of having a heart attack in the middle of a blizzard and the ambulance can’t get to you, but that doesn’t feel as dangerous as an earthquake.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      September 21, 2017 at 11:30 am

      • I think there are a lot of people looking to make out like bandits with natural disasters.

        The Texas governor has been floating numbers approaching 200 billion for Harvey repair. This is preposterous. There was heavy flooding but most structures are intact. One estimate I saw is that up to 40,000 homes were destroyed.

        This comes out to 5 million per house that was destroyed. Absurd! The average house price in Houston is $300,000 according to Zillow. Even if every one of these homes needed to be totally rebuilt (and that is nonsense since a few feet of flooding probably means a $50,000 replacement of floors and walls not a rebuild and the a good chunk of the value is the lot itself) the tab would be in the neighborhood of $10 billion.

        As for cars, the average age of a car on the road is 11 years, and if 1 million cars got flooded, at an average of $10,000 apiece, that would be another $10 billion.

        I assume everyone in the eastern half Texas 50% will get a brand new car to replace their old beater that wasn’t even flooded, and $100,000 in renovations to their house that stayed dry.


        September 21, 2017 at 12:48 pm

      • Don’t feel sorry for the residents of Houston. They hit the jackpot.


        September 21, 2017 at 12:50 pm

      • “I think there are a lot of people looking to make out like bandits with natural disasters.”

        Sure. I think a smart thing for a prole kid to do is go into the scrap metal business.

        Or cleanup, whatever the technical term is. Anyone here know?


        September 21, 2017 at 2:49 pm

      • Inland parts of the Carolinas are about as safe as you can get. Tornados aren’t as common east of the Appalachians, it’s not an earthquake zone, blizzards are very rare, and if you’re far enough inland and not in a low-lying spot hurricanes are mostly just an annoyance. New England away from the coasts also is safe in these regards except that blizzards are possible.



        September 22, 2017 at 9:36 am

      • “Inland parts of the Carolinas are about as safe as you can get. Tornados aren’t as common east of the Appalachians”

        As long as people with the surname Lincoln stay out of office.


        September 23, 2017 at 8:35 pm

    • I met a victim of the Northridge quake in 1995 – well sort of. It was in Berkeley and we were starting up our thrice-weekly “community” hoops game. There was this 6″6″ black kid I’d never seen before. He told me he was on the team at Morehouse in Atlanta, after transferring from Northridge. Kept telling me what a great lawyer Johnnie Cochran was. In the game, he missed every shot he took, and looked pretty uncoordinated doing it. I told him to stick to law.


      September 21, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    • Dan, no doubt some of the damage in Houston is to roads. electrical and other infrastructure. Some houses were completely under water.


      September 21, 2017 at 3:01 pm

  3. The town I live in in western Canada normally has little pollution. But this summer we had a lot of smoke from wildfires. For a few days here the pollution index was worse than Beijing’s.


    September 21, 2017 at 12:36 pm

  4. From what I”ve heard, most people in Hawaii would be very happy with more volcanos and fewer Micronesians.



    September 21, 2017 at 2:56 pm

  5. There’s a supervolcano under Yellowstone that’s supposed to blow eventually and destroy most of the US, including the northeast.


    September 21, 2017 at 4:03 pm

  6. does climate change have any effect on seismic activity?

    Otis the Sweaty

    September 21, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    • No.


      September 23, 2017 at 12:16 pm

  7. I lived in Hawaii for 5 years, and can tell ya that vog’s not a very big deal – other than making it necessary to clean your lanai, or patio/balcony, more frequently than you might normally.

    Additionally, kilauea on big island is a very peaceful volcano, and its “eruptions” are more like dribbling of pāhoehoe and a`a lava flows. It’s been erupting almost uninterrupted since the early 80’s, and it tends to give a lot of warning for people who may be in its path. If you’re upcountry in the highlands or on the kona or hamakua coasts, you’re probably pretty safe.

    I’ve often considered Big Island as my spot to raise a family and “exit in place”. Low rates of violent crime, mostly asians, whites, and polynesians, tons of fertile land, very few natural disasters (hurricanes once every few decades), no dangerous terrestrial fauna, fresh seafood, perfect weather, and far from the rest of the world and its bullshit. Seems like an ideal place to me!


    September 21, 2017 at 9:32 pm

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