Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Volcano Erupts, Urging Precautions

Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Volcano Erupts: The largest active volcano on Earth is erupting for the first time in over four decades. Authorities have stated that there is no imminent threat to inhabited areas from lava flows from Mauna Loa, which is located near the center of Hawaii’s Big Island.

When Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Volcano Erupts, People Should Be Careful

The U.S. Geological Survey and other authorities warned Hawaii’s Big Island residents to prepare for the worst when Mauna Loa, the world’s biggest active volcano, began erupting. According to a USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory notice, Mauna Loa’s summit caldera, Mokuāweoweo, erupted late Sunday around 11:30 p.m. HST. The observatory claimed it collaborated with emergency managers.

USGS Volcanoes and the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency confirmed southwest overflowing late Monday. USGS Volcanoes reported that the volcano’s eruption has relocated to the northeast rift zone, with lava flows flowing north.

Later, USGS Volcanoes reported that the northeast rift zone was still erupting while the southwest was not. “Eruptions outside the Northeast Rift Zone are unlikely. No property is in jeopardy, “USGS Volcanoes tweeted.

Lava from a northeast eruption might reach Hilo, Hawaii, or other East Hawaii areas weeks or months later. Southwest rift zone lava may reach towns within days. USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory stated lava flows are not threatening adjacent communities downstream. Volcanic gas, fine ash, and Pele’s Hair might “be transported downwind.”

The Observatory said the eruption will stay in the northeast rift zone. “The movement of the erupting region towards the northeast rift zone moves the threat into considerably less steep terrain,” Hawaii Emergency Management Agency tweeted.

“Lava flows rapidly downhill from steep eruptions. As it descends, shallow slopes cool it more, slowing it. NE rift zone explosions may reach the sea in weeks or months, compared to hours on steeper slopes.”

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Hawaii's Mauna Loa Volcano Erupts
Kailua-Kona and Pahala opened shelters as a precaution. Bobby Camara, a lifelong Big Island resident from Volcano Village, advised everyone to monitor the eruption. He advised vigilance, having witnessed three Mauna Loa eruptions. “Everyone should be a little concerned,” he remarked. “We don’t know the flow’s direction or duration.”

The USGS advised people at risk from Mauna Loa lava flows to reassess their eruption preparations, as historical events demonstrate lava flows can “vary fast.” For reference, Hawaii County Civil Defense offers a Mauna Loa Lava Inundation Zones map.

“Lava flows will likely stay inside the caldera if the eruption continues in Moku‘āweoweo. If eruptive vents relocate outside their confines, lava flows may proceed quickly downslope “in its Sunday night alarm. Monday morning’s ashfall alert on the Big Island ended later. After the restriction was canceled, officials advised respiratory patients to take care of.

The eruption on Monday afternoon prompted the Hawaii Department of Health to warn residents and visitors about air quality. The health agency reported normal air quality at 7 p.m. EST. “The eruption might create vog conditions, ash in the air, and levels of sulfur dioxide to grow and fluctuate in various sections of the state,” the agency said.

The government suggested avoiding outdoor exposure and wearing masks to prevent particle inhalation due to quickly changing weather. Scientists are on alert for an eruption due to a rise in Mauna Loa earthquakes. Sunday night’s explosion raised Mauna Loa’s volcanic status from advisory to warning and its aviation alert from yellow to red.

13,679-foot Mauna Loa last erupted in 1984. Hawaii’s Big Island has five volcanoes. The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports that the Kilauea volcano is also erupting, but with a “watch” volcano alert and orange aviation alert. A 2018 Kilauea eruption destroyed 700 houses and spilled lava into the ocean.

Experts say Mauna Loa, which is taller than Kilauea, might pour down sections of its hillsides in hours because of steeper slopes.

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