This past Sunday evening, the largest active volcano in Hawaii started its eruption process, sparking a series of intense warnings about lava flows in the area around the volcano’s base.
The eruption of the volcano, known as Mauna Loa and thought to be the largest active volcano in the world, was caught via monitors at roughly 11:30 p.m. local time by officials with the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Image from Mauna Loa summit webcam acquired at 11:46 PM HST.
— USGS Volcanoes???? (@USGSVolcanoes) November 28, 2022
“Residents at risk from Mauna Loa lava flows should review preparedness and refer to Hawai‘i County Civil Defense information for further guidance,” stated the U.S. Geological Survey. “Based on past events, the early stages of a Mauna Loa eruption can be very dynamic and the location and advance of lava flows can change rapidly.”
An additional update was issued at 2:43 a.m. local time about the ongoing volcanic eruption.
“The eruption continues at the summit of Mauna Loa,” read the U.S. Geological Survey. “All vents remain restricted to the summit area. However, lava flows in the summit region are visible from Kona. There is currently no indication of any migration of the eruption into a rift zone.”
Mauna Loa began to erupt at 11:30 PM HST on Sunday. The eruption is currently confined to the summit, and there is no indication that magma is moving into either rift zone. HVO is closely monitoring. Follow @USGSVolcanoes for updates. Find webcams here: https://t.co/PCmuqZqpcB pic.twitter.com/dv6vJBsASo
— USGS (@USGS) November 28, 2022
The Volcano Alert Level and the Aviation Color Code for Mauna Loa still sit at a worrying WARNING/RED, as explained by the U.S. Geological Survey.
This late-night eruption also caused a large number of small-grade earthquakes throughout the area surrounding the volcano. A report from Reuters explained that well over a dozen tremors of more than 2.5 magnitudes took place in the two-hour period of the Mauna Loa’s eruption, with the peak earthquake being recorded at 4.2.
Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency (EMA) has also put out its own advisory information about the ongoing eruption.
“Hawaii Volcano Observatory has received some reports of lava overflowing into the southwest portion on the Mauna Loa caldera, but at this point there are NO indications that it threatens populated areas. No evacuation orders are in place,” explained the tweet from the EMA. “Shelters have been opened as a precaution in Pahala and at Old Airport in Kailua Kona, but roughly half of all recorded Mauna Loa eruptions have remained in the summit area without threatening populated areas.”
Mauna Loa takes up well over half of the space on the Big Island of Hawaii, reaching a peak elevation of roughly 13,679 feet. The volcano’s last recorded eruption took place back in March and April of 1984, spawning a flow of lava that stretched more than five miles within the city of Hilo, stated Reuters.