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At This Hour

Lava From Mauna Loa Volcano Creeps Closer To Major Highway; Tampa Police Chief Resigns After Flashing Badge During Traffic Stop; Kennedy Centers Honors 45th Class Of Actors, Musicians. Aired 11:30a- 12p ET

Aired December 05, 2022 - 11:30   ET



NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Have responsibility for the morality police. That's something -- that's the responsibility of the interior ministry. He does have a responsibility, in part for the review of the hijab law. And he was speaking about that on Thursday. Could these be part of two things? Does he have a knowledge of what's happening in this review of the hijab law, which should become public within a couple of weeks?

But this notion that the government is trying to sort of change its tack if you little -- if you will, and take some sting out of the protests on the streets, through changing the hijab law. If that's what -- if that's really what happens and we don't know that at the moment is really vague and ambiguous as the State Department describes it. Is that -- is that what he's doing? We just don't know that. It really isn't clear, Kate.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, we will find out. We absolutely will. Thank you so much, Nic. I really appreciate it.

So, lava from the Mauna Loa volcano inching closer to the Big Island's main highway. Why it is so hard to predict what this thing is going to do next? One of the scientists who's been studying the volcano up close joins us.



BOLDUAN: Lava from the world's largest active volcano is creeping ever closer to the main highway on Hawaii's Big Island. We're going to show you. These are live pictures from the USGS s of Mauna Loa, truly beautiful awe-inspiring, and -- yes, awe-inspiring images coming in right now. The lava flow is now about two miles away from the road but so far officials have no plans to try to redirect it. David Culver has more for us from Hawaii.

DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Kate, as the lava is crawling closer to where we are, we're even starting to smell the sulfur in the air. Now, the view from here pretty striking with that lava glow but to give you an even better look, we go higher.


CULVER (voiceover): We go up in the morning dark. Paradise helicopter's Darren Hamilton, our pilot, and guide giving us rare access.

I assume we'll know when we see the volcano?

DARREN HAMILTON, PILOT: Yes, it's just off, kind off, the eastern side there. At about one o'clock position that is the plume there.

CULVER: Having flown in military hot zones, Darren even admits this is firepower like no other. What was it like the first time you flow over lava?

HAMILTON: Oh, it was a blast.

CULVER: It can also be challenging, especially with heavy vog or volcanic smog. So, there you can see the gasses from fissure 3. Those acidic gases dangerous if the concentration levels are too high. That's 2 to 3 thousand degrees Fahrenheit or about 1000 degrees Celsius. That's molten rock, flowing like water. Which has already crossed one volcano road power, lines in all a searing slice right through it.

It's incredible the heat you feel as soon as you get close to it. Look at this. The rushing flow like a river. You see the current of lava. Darren estimates it's moving 30 to 40 miles per hour. But this -- the source of it all, I mean there's nothing like this just spewing from the top.


CULVER (on camera): It is incredible to be up there in person, Kate. Now the lava flowing way up there about 15 miles from where we are, moving really fast. As it gets closer to where we are, it is slowing down, starting to fan out as it hits flatland, moving much slower at some 40 feet per hour. Still, though it is inching closer to that major highway. Now, just over two miles from it, Kate.

BOLDUAN: David Culver, thank you so much for that. Joining me now is Matt Patrick. He's a volcanologist at the US Geological Surveys Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. Dan, thanks for coming on the show.

The lava as my colleague who's on the ground said it's just about two miles from a major highway. And CNN heard from some experts who say it's unlikely there's going to be any attempt to redirect the lava flow. Is that what you would expect? I mean, what would that even entail trying to redirect it?

DR. MATT PATRICK, VOLCANOLOGIST, USGS HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY: Yes, that's really a decision for Hawaii County civil defense on what kind of measures that can take in that regard. But lava diversion has had a tricky history. It's worked in some cases in Italy, but in many other cases, it hasn't. It's particularly tricky on shallow slopes like we have here. So, yes, that's really a decision for Hawaii County civil defense. They'd be working with Hawaiian Volcano Observatory where I work to try to figure that out if they decide that's something that they want to do. But I -- yes, that's -- it's -- that really hasn't gotten to that point at this point.

BOLDUAN: Yes, that's true and a good thing. One of the things about any volcanic eruption as we've been watching it is just how unpredictable it is. I mean, it's beautiful to see but not knowing when it's going to erupt, how long it's going to last, and everything that's involved with it. Why is it so difficult to predict these elements of a volcanic eruption, how long it's going to last? Is there something about Mauna Loa that presents additional challenges?

PATRICK: Well, in a way, Mauna Loa has only had kind of two eruptions, 1975 and 1984, and kind of a moderate -- with modern instrumentation, but it's not like its neighbor Kilauea which is actually erupting right now as well which has had many, many eruptions for us to observe.


That we have kind of less data to -- modern data to understand Mauna Loa, but it's also -- I mean, it's a huge volcano. Its average typical eruption durations are about a few weeks and we're now a week into the eruption. But at the same time, Mauna Loa eruptions have lasted for months and -- you know years ago. So, yes, it's always kind of a tricky thing. And that's why we're always obviously keeping a very close eye on our monitoring instruments.

BOLDUAN: It's --you know, potentially dangerous, yes, but the word I keep using is awe-inspiring to see it. I mean, the live images coming from USGS of it are just truly -- I mean, it's beautiful to see when molten rock just flowing like water. What opportunities does this present for your research, and what more we all then can learn about the Earth?

PATRICK: Yes. Obviously, a big opportunity to try to understand how volcanoes erupt, basaltic volcanoes, shield volcanoes like we have here, but also now that we have this very large lava flow that's erupting from the Northeast Rift Zone, that's an opportunity to understand lava flow hazards. So, yes, we're trying to basically collect all the data that we can and applying new tools, cameras, flow models, and to try to forecast and kind of understand the dynamics of that lava flow.

BOLDUAN: What is the real danger in terms of air quality?

PATRICK: Well, right now, you know, there is vog from the volcano, there's a huge amount of lava coming out with and that brings -- carries with it a large amount of volcanic gas. The elevation -- the vent elevation is about 12,000 feet, so you know that's going to help loft that plumes higher. I haven't yet heard major reports of vog in communities. I suppose that could change. But I imagine that the event elevation is a factor that's kind of mitigating that.

BOLDUAN: It's so interesting. Dan, it's great to meet you. Thanks for coming in.

PATRICK: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Matt Patrick, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

Tampa's police chief resigned. What was caught on tape that has her stepping down? We're going to show you the moment next.



BOLDUAN: This morning, Tampa's police chief resigned after a body camera footage came out of her showing her badge to an officer during a traffic stop. Watch this.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you doing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm a deputy with the sheriff's office. I stopped you because you're driving a tag -- or unregistered vehicle with no tag on it on the roadway.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we were -- we went to the club. It was closed. So, we went over and picked up some --



O'CONNOR: I'm the police chief in Tampa.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, how are you doing?

O'CONNOR: I'm doing good.


O'CONNOR: I'm hoping that you just let us go tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, OK. Yes, I'm not sure. You look familiar, so.

O'CONNOR: Yes. I'm sure I do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, you take care. And it was nice meeting you.

O'CONNOR: All right.


O'CONNOR: If ever need anything, call me.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. Appreciate that.

O'CONNOR: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, ma'am. You're welcome so.

O'CONNOR: Thank you for your service.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you for your service.

O'CONNOR: Thanks, so --



BOLDUAN: Leyla Santiago joins us now with more on this. Leyla, what's the now-former chief saying?

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, listen, three weeks - nearly three weeks after that traffic stop, she has submitted her letter of resignation. And in that letter of resignation, she says that it was a horrible personal mistake. And you know not too long ago, she released another statement in which she says she understands why some folks may think she mishandled that situation but it was never her intent. And points to that moment in which she asks if the officer has his camera on to say that she knew she was being recorded, a very different take from the city of Tampa. They also released the internal affairs report in which they say that she violated Tampa Police policy and even say that she compromised her ethics and professionalism.

Let me read with you a statement from the mayor in which the mayor says "it is unacceptable for any public employee and especially the city's top law enforcement leader to ask for special treatment because of their position. Public Trust in Tampa's Police Department is paramount to our success as a city as well as a community." So, now what? Well, Mary O'Connor says that she offered to pay any sort of potential fine or citation associated with that traffic stop. This investigation has been complete. And now Tampa is looking for a new police chief. There is now a national search but no telling yet the timeline or the deadline of when a new police chief will be chosen, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Leyla, Thank you. So, a FedEx driver in Texas now charged with kidnapping and killing a seven-year-old girl Tanner Lynn Horner is facing capital murder and aggravated kidnapping charges now on the death of Athena Strand. Authorities say that he allegedly grabbed her from the driveway of her home on Wednesday, and her body was discovered two days later. Strand's mother posting a heartbreaking tribute to her daughter on Facebook saying this in part, which is I cannot describe the pain and absolute anger I feel.

[11:50:02] My princess was taken from me from a sick cruel monster for absolutely no reason. Athena is innocent, beautiful, kind, intelligent, and just the brightest, happiest soul you could ever meet.

Still ahead for us. The biggest applause at the Kennedy Center Honors last night was not even for the honorees. Nancy Pelosi's husband making his first public appearance since that horrible attack in their home. That's next.

BOLDUAN: It was a star-studded evening at the Kennedy Center Honors last night. This year's honorees included George Clooney, Gladys Knight, and U2, among others as you see there.


President Biden held a reception at the White House beforehand for the nominees and honorees who are recognized for their artistic contributions to American culture. The biggest applause though of the whole evening came not for the honorees but for someone in attendance. Listen.



BOLDUAN: You see Speaker Pelosi right there. That is Nancy Pelosi's husband next to her, Paul Pelosi, making his first public appearance since he was attacked in their home back in October. Noticeably wearing a hat and glove as he is still recovering from injuries he sustained to his head and his hand.

Thank you all so much for being here AT THIS HOUR. I'm Kate Bolduan. "INSIDE POLITICS" with John King starts after the break.