After being quiet for 38 years, Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano is erupting. On the same island (the Big Island or Kona) in 2018 Kilauea volcano erupted for four months.
Scientists at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said the eruption of Mauna Loa began at about 11:30 p.m. Sunday in Mokuaweoweo, the summit caldera of the volcano. United States Geological Survey webcams at the summit clearly showed a long fissure erupting fountains of lava that are spreading along the caldera floor.
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 U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) initially said that lava was contained to the caldera. But within two hours of the start of the eruption, residents on the Kona side of the volcano recorded images that appeared to show lava starting to flow down the mountain, according to a report by Hawaii News Now.
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said, “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.”
— Matthew Liano (@mattliano) November 28, 2022
No evacuations have been requested, but Hawaii County opened shelters, in Ka’u at the Robert Herkes Gymnasium in Pahala, and at the Old Airport Gymnasium (Kailua Park) in Kailua-Kona after reports that residents were self-evacuating from the South Kona coast.
On Twitter, the USGS said “There are some reports now that lava is overtopping the caldera to the south. We’re working to confirm those reports. But eruptive vents continue to be confined to the caldera for now.”
“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,” the USGS said in a news release. “If the eruption remains in Moku’āweoweo, lava flows will most likely be confined within the caldera walls,” the release said. “However, if the eruptive vents migrate outside its walls, lava flows may move rapidly downslope.”
As of right now, no evacuations have been requested, but Hawaii County opened shelters, in Ka’u at the Robert Herkes Gymnasium in Pahala, and at the Old Airport Gymnasium (Kailua Park) in Kailua-Kona after reports that residents were “self-evacuating” from the South Kona coast.