For the first time in nearly 40 years, Mauna Loa, the largest active volcano in the world, is erupting in Hawaii. The eruption in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, despite lava running down one side of the volcano, is not endangering nearby settlements, the US Geological Survey reported at lunchtime on Monday.
The Northeast Rift Zone is where a volcano is splitting, allowing for lava flow, and the agency stated in a statement that “all indications indicate that the eruption will remain in the Northeast Rift Zone.” Pele’s Hair (strands of lava glass) and maybe fine ash and volcanic gas may be carried downwind.
The National Weather Service in Honolulu warned that some areas of the island could have ashfall accumulation of “trace to less than one-quarter inch.” The state Transportation Department has issued a warning: “Due to the volcanic activity at Mauna Loa, passengers with flights to Hilo International Airport (ITO) or the Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA) should verify with their airline before heading to the airport.”
Due to the eruption, Southwest Airlines said it would not be operating from Hilo International on Monday. Southwest announced that it had canceled five flights to and from Honolulu. The United States Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement that it is “closely monitoring the volcanic eruption and will issue air traffic advisories once the extent of the ash cloud is confirmed.”
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The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency tweeted late Monday morning that reports of lava overflowing into the southwest corner of the volcano’s caldera, or crater, had come into the Hawaii Volcano Observatory.
No evacuation orders have been issued, and there is no indication that adjacent areas are in danger, the agency tweeted. Two shelters have opened as a precaution even though, according to a different agency tweet, “approximately half” of documented Mauna Loa eruptions have been in the summit area without endangering populated areas.
— Emilee Speck (@EMSpeck) November 28, 2022
According to the weather service, ashfall can harm buildings and cars, taint water supplies, interfere with sewage and electrical systems, and harm or kill flora. Abrasive volcanic ash can also irritate the eyes and lungs.
The Honolulu office advised everyone to stay inside to avoid breathing in the ash particles and advised anyone outside to cover their mouth and nose with a mask or piece of cloth. Potential damage to plants and animals. Infrastructure and equipment are only slightly damaged. diminished visibility Possible widespread cleanup is required.
As stated earlier by the observatory, villages located underneath lava flows are not in danger. Hawaii, or the Big Island, is the largest in the Hawaiian chain in terms of area at almost 4,000 square miles, yet the US Census Bureau estimates that there are just over 200,000 residents there or less than 50 people per square mile. The majority of people live in coastal cities and towns.
The observatory stated, “Based on prior occurrences, the early stages of a Mauna Loa eruption can be quite dynamic and the location and advance of lava flows can alter fast. If the eruption remains in Moku’weoweo, lava flows will probably be contained within the caldera walls. However, lava flows may proceed quickly downslope if the eruptive vents migrate outside its walls.
According to a video taken near the Kailua Bay & Pier by Matthew Liano, a resident of Kailua-Kona on the Big Island’s west coast, red hues from the eruption lit up the predawn sky on Monday. Liano told “The radiance is unlike anything I’ve seen here living in Kona for most of my life.” According to the observatory, the eruption started on Sunday around 11:30 p.m. HST (4:30 a.m. ET Monday) in Moku’weoweo, the summit caldera of Mauna Loa.
Kilauea volcano has been erupting nearby since 2021.
The US Geological Survey reports that Mauna Loa, a volcano that makes up almost half of Hawaii’s island, has erupted 33 times since 1843 when it first had a “well-documented historical eruption.” Since it last erupted in 1984, this protracted spell of silence is the longest volcano has ever experienced.
Kilauea is a minor volcano that has been erupting since 2021, and Mauna Loa’s summit crater is located about 21 miles to the west of it. The park claims that their simultaneous eruptions have produced an unusual dual-eruption event.
The eruption on Kilauea is currently limited to its crater. In 2018, during the months-long eruption of Kilauea, lava poured into the Leilani Estates area, destroying more than 700 homes and forcing inhabitants to relocate. According to the agency, there have been more earthquakes and more seismic activity on Mauna Loa recently. The organization noted this in a late-last-month update.
According to the US Geological Survey, the frequency of earthquakes increased from five to ten per day in June 2022 to about ten to twenty per day in July and August. According to CNN, the number of earthquakes peaked on September 23 and September 29, when more than 100 quakes a day were registered.
The main area of the park, according to the US National Park Service, has remained accessible, however, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in October decided to close the summit of Mauna Loa to all backcountry hikers until further notice due to the increasing activity.