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Hawai’i Erupts! - Hot Stuff (B1-C1)

Luglio 2018
Kilauea, il vulcano più attivo al mondo, è il principale agente trasformatore della geografia dell’isola Hawaii. Poco prima della sua ultima grande eruzione siamo riusciti a sorvolare la zona in elicottero.

di Talitha Linehan

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clicca qui per andare alla relativa traccia audio (contrassegnata dalla scritta "speaker")

Ryan Moeller
Ryan Moeller

Speaker: Molly Malcolm (American accent)

The Island of Hawai’i, known as ‘the Big Island’, is one of eight main islands that make up the US state of Hawaii. Located about 2,500 miles from the US mainland in the central Pacific Ocean, this volcanic archipelago is the most isolated population center in the world.  


Hawai’i was created by Kilauea, a tremendous shield volcano – one of five volcanoes that make up the Hawaiian Islands. In May, Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, began spewing lava into a residential area, activity foreshadowed by dozens of small earthquakes. Thousands of people had to be evacuated from their homes and dozens of structures were destroyed.


Shield volcanoes are the largest type of volcano, and Kilauea one of the world’s most studied. At the Kilauea Visitor Center, visitors can learn more about the volcano; extensive scientific research has shed light on the birth of the Hawaiian Islands, and on the origins of planet Earth.


Kilauea is a young volcano but still it may have been active for over six hundred thousand years. It has been erupting continuously for more than thirty-five years now, eruptions which have created a barren volcanic landscape with a complex and unique ecosystem.


Visiting Kilauea, you can feel Earth’s primordial forces at work! The Hawaiian Island chain was created by ongoing volcanic activity that still shapes the islands. Ever since Pu’u ’O’o, the most active vent of Kilauea, erupted in 1983, the surface area of Hawai’i island has grown about six hundred acres.


Among the many attractions of the National Park, visitors can walk through the Thurston Lava Tube, a tunnel formed of lava within a tree fern forest that was discovered in 1913. The park also boasts lava fields formed from molten rock that emerged from the Earth’s crust up to a million years ago. 





Speaker: Molly Malcolm (American accent)

Ryan Moeller is a pilot for Paradise Helicopters, a company that provides helicopter tours over the Hawaiian Islands. These tours allow visitors to fully appreciate the extraordinary natural beauty of the islands, with the most exhilarating part of the trip a doors-off ride over the active volcano Kilauea. Aside from his great skill as a helicopter pilot, Moeller’s job also requires extensive knowledge of Hawaiian geology, history and culture. When Speak Up met with him in Hawai’i, we began by asking him why he had chosen such a demanding career:

Ryan Moeller (American accent):

It’s awesome. It changes every single day. I’m not looking at the same thing. Every flight is different. Every hour is different. It’s a growing island. So flying over it, it’s always something new. It’s always an adventure trying to find the new lava flow... something expanding. It’s quite spectacular.


Moeller then told us about his personal connection to Hawai’i and what makes this island so special.

Ryan Moeller:

I’m born and raised here. I grew up in Kona on the other side, the dry, hot side. What I break it down, [the] Big Island, it’s 4,038 square miles and less than twenty per cent of it is populated. So you can go to the beach and get a beach to yourself. You have the volcano. It’s a pretty special place, especially [as] you have that privacy, and there’s a lot of really remote little secret stuff.


In May, Kilauea volcano violently erupted and was unsafe to fly over for a while. But, as the pilot explained, flying over the top of Kilauea on a typical day is still quite an experience.

Ryan Moeller:

Lava flows, lava lakes [are] pretty typical. We get a lot of breakouts on the surface. Two thousand [Fahrenheit] degrees, especially with the doors off, I mean, you feel that heat coming up. It’s quite exciting for sure. Little do you know that you’re going over a huge lava lake. It is an active volcano, and it is the most active portion of the volcano.


Volcanic activity means that the Hawaiian landscape is constantly changing. An active submarine volcano called Lo’ihi is forming a new island under the ocean - but it won’t be visible for at least ten thousand years, says Moeller.

Ryan Moeller:

Lo’ihi is a hot spot. They are selling timeshares for it, if you want to buy something. No, I’m kidding! But yeah, it is a hot spot, it is off the coast and I think it sits in about three thousand feet of water.


While the latest big eruption of Kilauea this year was unexpected, Moeller says that activity is continuously measured and residents can be warned in advance.

Ryan Moeller:

Since Pu’u ’O’o has started erupting, which is the [most] active vent, houses, water tanks, barns, stuff like that [have been threatened]. [But] It’s not what you see in the movies. It’s slow-going. You’re always going to have a good heads up … you have time.  

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Hot spot. Zona nevralgica. È un termine polisemantico che letteralmente significa ‘punto caldo’. In geologia si usa per indicare un luogo soggetto a fenomeni di vulcanismo ma anche una zona nevralgica. In informatica si riferisce a un luogo prevalentemente commerciale con una connessione Wi-Fi pubblica. Negli ultimi tempi questa parola ha acquisito un nuovo significato: indica un centro per la gestione dei migranti.

Timeshares. Proprietà di vacanza condivise.
Negli Stati Uniti è un modo molto diffuso per acquistare una seconda proprietà in un luogo di villeggiatura. In genere la casa si trova all’interno di un residence e questa viene condivisa (to share) con altre famiglie, ognuna delle quali può alloggiarvi per alcune settimane.