Video: You Won't Like Her When She's Angry

Credit: U.S. Geological Survey

Hawaii's gently erupting volcano, Kilauea, home of the volcano goddess Pele, has an unexpectedly hot temper. Research presented today at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco shows that Kilauea undergoes centuries of explosive eruptions. Scientists knew that the volcano's stately lava flows are punctuated with violent outbursts that blast rocks and ash for kilometers. But most thought those fits of pique lasted only days or weeks. By radiocarbon dating lava flows and debris from explosive eruptions deposited over the past 2500 years, scientists pinpointed two periods of violent activity lasting 1200 and 300 years. Some tantrums!

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