|A well-known dictum in geology is "the present is the key to the past." Often, however, the past itself is a key: to the future. The past is a better such key, in fact, than is the present. It is improbable that everything that
can happen is happening today. Something brand new may start, of course, but something that has happened in the past is more likely to occur again, regardless of what's going on today.
It is in this light that a new feature story presents the outlines of Kilauea's explosive past. Kilauea is not exploding now, but it has done so in a small way in the recent past and in a big way during the past hundreds to thousands of years. If we are to know the whole gamut of what Kilauea can do, it behooves us to examine its past as carefully as possible. Explosions can be hazardous to both people on the ground and traveling in jet airliners. The more we know about Kilauea's explosions, the better chance we have of mitigating their risk to us.
So turn the page and perhaps be surprised at the richness of Kilauea's explosive past.