Volcano sends lava flowing through Hawaii

Residents scrambling near Kilauea volcano

Lesson #
May 10, 2018
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The Kilauea volcano in Hawaii is erupting and sending lava flowing through residential areas, putting homes and businesses at risk. Gas and steam are coming out of new cracks in the earth that opened up after a series of earthquakes last week. Several residents were given only minutes to evacuate their homes and head for safety. We also discuss the English phrase "head for" on today's program.


Also in Today's Lesson


Transcript

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A volcano eruption in Hawaii has residents headed for safety

Welcome to Plain English for Thursday, May 10, 2018. I’m Jeff and you are listening to the podcast that goes at the right speed for English learners. Today’s topic is the Kilauea volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii, and what its recent eruption means for the people who live nearby. I’ll give you a hint: it’s scary. At the end of the program, we’ll talk about using the word “head” as a verb.

Before we get started, just a quick reminder that today is episode 45, which means you can find a transcript of this very program on our web site at PlainEnglish.com/45. The transcripts are interactive, meaning that they show you instant translations of words and phrases from English to Spanish, Portuguese, French and Chinese. If you haven’t seen the transcripts, make sure to check them out at PlainEnglish.com/45.


Kilauea volcano erupting in Hawaii

A volcano eruption in Hawaii has residents scrambling. The Kilauea volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii erupted last Thursday, spewing lava, steam and dangerous gas throughout a residential area. And as if that’s not enough, residents also have to contend with a series of earthquakes, including a big one that registered a magnitude of 6.9. It was the most powerful earthquake on the island since 1975.

The twin events—the eruption plus the earthquakes—have driven hundreds of people from their homes on the first day, and even more people were evacuated over the weekend. Many people said the police arrived at their doorstep and gave them only five minutes to pack up their stuff and head for safety.

One person told CNN that he had to leave his house, and then saw pictures of lava bubbling just feet from his dream home. There were some pretty incredible pictures showing the steam rising up through cracks in the earth and molten lava—which is essentially liquid rock—flowing through the woods near people’s houses. If you look at the aerial pictures, you can see what looks like a stream of bright-orange lava, surrounded by smoke. The lava is so hot that it actually starts small fires in the area, further complicating the situation. The gas that comes out of the ground is Sulphur dioxide, which is poisonous if you breathe too much of it. Many areas have too much Sulphur dioxide in the air for people to be in their homes or even for workers to repair electricity lines.

In the past, when I’ve thought of a volcano erupting and spewing lava, I’ve always pictured the top of a volcano blowing out a cloud of ash and hot lava running quickly down the side of the mountain. But that’s not exactly what happened here. It’s true that the eruption sent big white clouds of steam and ash from the top of the volcano. But the lava was different. All along one side of the volcano is what they call a “rift zone” where the mountain is actually ripping apart.

That means that the surface of one of these rift zones is already relatively weak, which is what allows the lava and gas to escape in these areas, along the side of a mountain, instead of at the top. Here’s another difference from what I always imagined a volcanic eruption to be like: the lava doesn’t actually flow fast like a river. In fact, if you were nearby and you saw it coming, you’d be able to just walk away and be safe. When lava flows, it can go about 20 yards per hour, so about 18 meters per hour. That’s why so many people are able to stand around taking pictures and videos of the lava flows nearby—they can easily outpace the lava just by walking.

Houses, though, are a different story. They can’t just walk away. One worrying thing about this eruption is that the lava is showing up much farther down the mountain—away from its peak—than in the past; that means, closer to people’s homes. Usually, people would be able to go back homes after just a few days, but if the lava flows differently from in the past, the people who live nearby may need to stay away from their homes for much longer. The other worrying thing is that the area was struck by dozens of small earthquakes all in the week ahead of time. So, the earthquakes, including that big one, have all been putting pressure on the composition of the mountain, potentially making certain areas weaker. New rifts can open up anywhere along the side of the mountain with no notice; imagine standing outside and seeing the earth open up and lava start coming out—it’s scary stuff.

Back in 2011, an entire subdivision of homes was destroyed by lava flows and had to be abandoned. In 1955, an eruption lasting three months left 4,000 acres covered in lava.


If any of you have seen lava before, I would love for you to tell me what it’s like. I know we have listeners in places with volcanoes—Mexico, Guatemala, Japan, Indonesia. I have never seen a volcano erupt or seen lava, so I have no clue what it’s like in person. If you have, send me a note and tell me where you were and what you thought about it. My email address is jeff [at] plainenglish.com. I’ll read some of the responses on a future show.

I want to say thank you and hello to a few people today. First of all, Ariane from Floripa in Brazil left me a nice review on Facebook. She uses English at work and practices by listening to Plain English. Lenka from the Czech Republic is in a similar situation; she wrote to say she works with people in the United States so uses the program to improve her English skills. Caio from Brazil and Rolando from the Dominican Republic also wrote to say “hi” this week—thanks to all of you for listening and saying hi.

If you would like to connect with JR and I, just go to Facebook and search for the user name PlainEnglishPod. You will find us there and can write to us via our Facebook page. PlainEnglishPod.

¿Hablas español?

The transcript of this lesson is available with interactive translations into Spanish. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

你说中国话?

The transcript of this lesson is available with interactive translations into your language. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

Parlez-vous français?

The transcript of this lesson is available with interactive translations into your language. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

Can I see a sample?

Yes, please visit PlainEnglish.com/sample to see a sample episode with the Spanish translations.

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

Você fala português?

The transcript of this lesson is available with interactive translations into your language. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

Can I see a sample?

Yes, please visit PlainEnglish.com/sample to see a sample episode with the Spanish translations.

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

日本語は話せますか?

The transcript of this lesson is available with interactive translations into your language. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

Can I see a sample?

Yes, please visit PlainEnglish.com/sample to see a sample episode with the Spanish translations.

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

Parli italiano?

The transcript of this lesson is available with interactive translations into your language. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

Can I see a sample?

Yes, please visit PlainEnglish.com/sample to see a sample episode with the Spanish translations.

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

Sprechen Sie Deutsch?

The transcript of this lesson is available with interactive translations into your language. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

Can I see a sample?

Yes, please visit PlainEnglish.com/sample to see a sample episode with the Spanish translations.

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

Sen Türkçe konuşmayı biliyor musun?

The transcripts of Plain English lessons are available with interactive translations into your language. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation. Turkish translations are available starting at Lesson 278.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

Can I see a sample?

Yes, please visit PlainEnglish.com/sample to see a sample episode with the Spanish translations.

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

Mówisz po polsku?

The transcript of Plain English lessons are available with interactive translations into your language. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation. Polish translations are available starting at Lesson 278.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

Can I see a sample?

Yes, please visit PlainEnglish.com/sample to see a sample episode with the Spanish translations.

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

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