Popular Science

This is what it takes for scientists to get you those amazing pictures of the Kilauea eruption

Photography is only a small part of volcano monitoring.
lava roadblock

Lava crosses a road in Hawaii during the recent eruption.

U.S. Geological Survey

On May 2, 2018 the cracks were only a few inches across, innocuous to the casual observer, not even slicing fully through the black asphalt in the neighborhood of Leilani Estates. To someone from anywhere else in the United States, they would look like the ordinary wear and tear of an aging blacktop. But this was Hawaii, on the flanks of an active volcano. Earthquakes had just shuddered east toward the neighborhood from the eruptive vents at the summit.

The people who lived here knew that there

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