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Kilauea eruption in Hawai'i Volcanoes NP led to surprise phytoplankton bloom

Volcanic eruptions are typically associated with death and destruction, but the recent eruptions on Hawaii’s Big Island resulted in an unexpected biological boom—a gigantic plume of algae extending for hundreds of miles into the Pacific Ocean.

From May to August 2018, an ongoing eruption at Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano resulted in the pouring of millions of cubic meters of molten lava into the North Pacific Ocean. The eruption wreaked havoc for local residents, who worried about toxic gas plumes saturated with hydrochloric acid and glass particles. But the slow and tedious effusive eruptions at Kilauea resulted in something rather unexpected: a large bloom of surface-dwelling, photosynthetic microbes known as phytoplankton.

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