Vog Pictures

 
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Volcanic Air Pollution - Photos Showing Vog and its Effects on Air Quality

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Vog is the colloquial term for volcanic air pollution. Noxious sulfur dioxide gas and other pollutants emitted react with oxygen and atmospheric moisture to produce vog and acid rain. It can have a big impact on people who are sensitive to air quality levels. Prior to March 2008, the vog levels on the Big Island of Hawaii were relatively low and imperceptible in most areas except for areas immediately around the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. On March 12, 2008 a new vent opened up in Halemaumau crater and started to pump out volcanic gases to a level greater than has been recorded since 1979. March 2008 measurements show 2,000 tonnes of SO2 being emitted from Halemaumau crater. Prior to the eruption, the emission rate was around 150 tonnes a day. June 2008 figures show around 1,500 tonnes a day. These high levels have affected residents with respiratory problems, caused voluntary evacuations, and caused significant damage to agricultural farms and ranches.  The emissions have also caused concern for the long-term effects on health, water quality and agriculture.

On the Island of Hawaii, also known as the Big Island, the typical trade winds blow the vog from its main source on the volcano to the southwest, where wind patterns send it up the island's Kona coast. Here, it becomes trapped by daytime onshore sea breezes. When the less typical light "kona" winds blow, much of the vog is concentrated on the eastern side of the island, but some can even reach Oahu, more than 200 miles to the northwest. Vog is most present from 300 ft. in elevation up to 6000 ft., with the area around 1000 ft. experiencing the most.

How long will it last? There is no way to accurately predict, so scientists look at the record for their best guess. Puu Oo vent opened in 1983 and has been continuous now for 25 years. Records show that Halemaumau eruptions have lasted from a day to over a century. One lasted from 1823 to 1924, since then it has been active for a total duration of 1.3 years with only three eruptions lasting longer than a month. Historically eruptions have lasted either decades or less than 7 months. The current eruption has lasted nine months (at October 2008) and is now the longest eruption since 1924, which suggests it could last for decades. The bottom line is that Halemaumau once erupted almost continuously for 100 years and must have produced high SO2 flux and vog. We cannnot rule out this scenario returning.

Effects on People and Animals: Most of the aerosols in vog are acidic and of a size where they can remain in the lungs where they can damage the lungs and impair function. People who have been exposed to vog report headaches, breathing difficulties, including inducing asthma attacks, watery eyes, sore throat, flu-like symptoms, and general lethargy.

Effects on Agriculture: Acid rain damages crops and can leach lead from rainwater catchment systems into water supplies. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Edward Schafer approved a request for a natural disaster designation for Hawaii County due to losses from volcanic emissions. The disaster declaration by the Secretary makes farm operators in Hawaii County eligible to be considered for low-interest loans from the Farm Service Agency (FSA). 

Vog Levels: Extreme - Very reduced visibility, no visible horizon. Blue/grey tint to objects a mile or less in distance. Heavy - Reduced visibility, horizon barely visible. Blue/grey tint to objects 3 miles away. Moderate - Horizon is blurry. Blue/grey tint to objects 5 miles away. Light - Horizon is almost sharp. Blue/grey tint to objects 10 miles away. No Vog - Sharp horizon and there is little haze when viewing distant objects

Air Quality websites
- http://airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=airnow.fcsummary&stateid=15
- http://hawaii.gov/doh/air-quality/index.html

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Picture of heavy vog from Kilauea volcano obscuring Kailua Kona harbor with two cruise ships, Hawaii Island, from one mile out to sea - October 10, 2008

Picture #: 089912

Stock photo of Celebrity Cruises' ship in Kailua Bay, Kailua Kona, Hawaii Island, in 2006, prior to the current increased vog activity, same view as previous photo

Picture #: 020960

Image of heavy vog, volcanic haze from Kilauea volcano, Kailua Kona, The Big Island of Hawaii

Picture #: 103350

Photo of Norwegian Cruise Line Pride of Aloha viewed from Holualoa, Kailua Kona, Hawaii Island, prior to the current increased vog activity, same view as previous photo

Picture #: 064295

picture of volcanic gases at Halemaumau crater picture of Halemaumau crater picture of volcanic gases at Halemaumau crater picture of vog plume

Picture ofscientists near the rim, 3-20-08, Halemaumau crater erupts for the first time since 1972, just below the public viewing area, throwing huge plumes of volcanic gases more than a mile into the air, Kilauea volcano summit, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Picture #: 066722

Stock photo of Halemaumau in 2006, prior to the 2008 eruption, Kilauea Caldera, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Big Island, Hawaii

Picture #: 020925

Image of Halemaumau Crater is the main vent inside Kilauea Caldera, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii Island, Hawaii. The crater is 1 km across ( .6 mile ). The plume is from a new eruption inside the crater which started on March 23, 2008. The plume rises more than a mile high

Picture #: 089852

Photo of the plume from the Halemaumau crater eruption at sunrise, viewed from the 6000' elevation of Mauna Loa road, Kilauea volcano summit, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Picture #: 066771

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Picture of sport fishing boat, trolling in front of Hualalai mountain, Kona, Big Island, Hawaii, Pacific Ocean, showing the normal sun haze view without vog

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Stock photo of heavy vog from Kilauea volcano obscuring the west coast of Hawaii Island two miles out off Kona Paradise subdivision - October 10, 2008

Picture #: 089910

Image of rough seas with whitecaps, created by strong wind from a tropical storm, leeward Kona Coast, Big Island, Hawaii, December 2007, prior to the 2008 eruption

Picture #: 029200

Photo of heavy vog, volcanic haze from Kilauea volcano, Kailua Kona, The Big Island of Hawaii

Picture #: 103349

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Picture of full moons light and the misty rain, seen through vog, Halemaumau crater eruption, Jaggar Museum, Kilauea volcano, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, The Big Island of Hawaii

Picture #: 082372

Stock photo of Halemaumau crater , 3-20-08, as it erupts for the first time since 1972, just below the public viewing area, two hikers view it throught the misty rain from Puu Pua'i, the devastation trail, Kilauea volcano summit, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Picture #: 066734

Image of sunrise, 3-20-08, Halemaumau crater erupts for the first time since 1972, just below the public viewing area, Kilauea volcano summit, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The plume of volcanic gases streams into the wind to be distributed as vog and acid rain

Picture #: 066726

Photo of sunrise at the damaged view point area, Halemaumau crater eruption, Kilauea volcano, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, The Big Island of Hawaii

Picture #: 066836

 

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