|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Here's the thing about volcanoes: They're beautiful and fascinating, sure, but they're also chock-full of lethal hazards like lava and poisonous gas. A major increase in poisonous sulfur dioxide gas seeping from the Halema'uma'u Crater at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park forced park officials to formulate an evacuation plan to protect both visitors and locals from the super-toxic fumes.
Karen Newton with the Park Service's Pacific West Regional Official said this afternoon that things are "kind of in a holding pattern right now" as trade winds and rains have kept the gases from drifting towards developed areas surrounding the park.
"They're still prepared, but they haven't issued an evacuation order yet," said the ranger.
"If the summit should erupt, the SO2 levels would fall and then we'd have the greatest tourist destination in the world," said Ranger Newton.
That sounds like an amazing sight...but if it happens, I think I'll just let someone else go first. — Ted Alvarez