Hawaii volcano eruption: Robots will dive into lava to make major scientific discoveries | World | News



Two robots, known as “Wave Gliders”, will dive through scolding molten rock and cold ocean saltwater to collect data.

CFO and founder of Liquid Robotics Roger Hine, the company who built the “Wave Gliders”, said: “Wave Gliders can operate in hotter water than boats and there’s no person on board.

“As opposed to putting scientists on a boat, where we’re more concerned about their safety.”

Mr Hine added: “Humans don’t want to get too close to lava entry point.

“Having seen it myself, you would have to be crazy.”

By using the robots, scientists working at the United States Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Hawaii at Hilo are able to retrieve information about the waters temperature, Ph levels, salinity, oxygen levels, and the effects the volcano has had on coral reefs and ecosystems of wildlife.

The “Wave Gliders” are able to monitor the molten rocks effect on the ocean for weeks at a time.

They are then able to report the findings to scientists.

The two unmanned robots have already provided data on the length of the lava flow into the Pacific Ocean.

Hawaii’s Big Island remains under the grip of the Kilauea volcano as it sends a constant stream of lava from its summit and fissures towards the ocean.

So far, more than 600 homes and properties have been destroyed in the wake of the disaster and thousands of people have been left staying with relatives or in emergency shelters.

The established channel from Kilauea towards the ocean is now said to be overflowing, producing a new lava threat for homeowners.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said the volcano remains very much active and continues to ooze molten rock from fissures 8 and 18.

Fissure 8 has been adding lava to the channel, resulting in small and short-lived overflows.

As of Friday morning, no further overflows were being observed and the main flow of molten rock has now crusted over.

But fresh lava is still spewing from the Kapoho Bay coast, although it is now moving under the crust.


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