Mauna Loa Has Begun Erupting
Update to Volcanic Activity (12/1/22):
The Northeast Rift Zone eruption of Mauna Loa continues, with two active fissures feeding lava flows downslope. Fissure 3 remains the dominant source of the largest lava flow. The fissure 3 lava flows are traveling to the north toward the Daniel K. Inouye Highway (Saddle Road) but have reached the relatively flatter ground and have slowed down significantly as expected. The advance of the largest flow slowed over the past 24 hours to a rate of about 0.025 miles per hour (40 meters per hour). As of 1:00 p.m. HST today, the flow front is about 3.2 miles (5.2 km) from the Daniel K. Inouye Highway (Saddle Road). Advance rates may be highly variable over the coming days and weeks due to the way lava is emplaced on flat ground. At the rate observed over the past 24 hours, the earliest the lava flow might be expected to reach the Daniel K. Inouye Highway (Saddle Road) is one week. However, there are many variables at play and both the direction and timing of flow advance are fluid and are expected to change over periods of hours to days.
Fissure 4 is still active with lava flows moving toward the northeast. The small lobe that was moving to the east from fissure 4 has stalled. Volcanic gas plumes are lofting high and vertically into the atmosphere. Pele's hair (strands of volcanic glass) is falling in the Humu‘ula Saddle area.
Our seismic monitoring detects tremors (high rates of earthquakes) in the location of the currently active fissures. This indicates that magma is still being supplied, and activity is likely to continue as long as we see this signal.
There is no active lava within Moku'āweoweo caldera, and the Southwest Rift Zone is not erupting. We do not expect any eruptive activity outside the Northeast Rift Zone. No property is at risk currently.
The eruption map for today is available here: https://www.usgs.gov/media/images/december-1-2022-mauna-loa-eruption-map
Update to Volcanic Activity (11/30/22, 10am ET):
The Northeast Rift Zone eruption of Mauna Loa continues, with several fissures and lava flows active. Several lava flows are traveling in a northeast direction. The longest and largest lava flow is issuing from Fissure 3. This lava flow crossed the Mauna Loa Weather Observatory Road and the flow front is located approximately 4.5 miles from Saddle Road.
Today, fountains at Fissure 3 are consistently 130-160 feet tall and fountains at Fissure 4 are 15-30 feet tall.
There is no active lava within Moku'āweoweo caldera, and there is no lava erupting from the Southwest Rift Zone. We do not expect any eruptive activity outside the Northeast Rift Zone. No property is currently at risk. There is a visible gas plume from the erupting fissure fountains and lava flows, with the plume primarily being blown to the North. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission rates are approximately 250,000 tonnes per day (t/d).
New webcam views of the Northeast Rift Zone of Mauna Loa are available at the links below:
Update to Volcanic Activity (11/29/22, 10am ET):
On Tuesday, November 29, at 3:27 am HST, a magnitude-4.0 earthquake occurred 6 miles east of Pahala, Island of Hawaiʻi, at a depth of 20 mi below sea level. The earthquake is not related to the eruption of Mauna Loa and had no apparent impact on the ongoing eruptions at Mauna Loa and Kīlauea.
This earthquake is part of the seismic swarm under the Pāhala area, which has been going on since 2019. Earthquakes in this region have been observed at least as far back as the 1960s (https://www.usgs.gov/news/volcano-watch-why-do-so-many-deep-earthquakes-happen-around-pahala).
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory continues to monitor Hawaiian volcanoes for any changes.
Update to Volcanic Activity (11/28/22, 10pm ET):
The eruption of Mauna Loa continues on the Northeast Rift Zone. Three fissures erupted and as of 1:30pm HST, only the lowest of the three fissures was active. Estimates of the tallest fountain heights are between 100–200 feet, but most are a few yards tall. The fissures sent lava flows to the northeast and parallel to the rift zone. Lava flows from the two higher fissures moved downslope but stalled about 11 miles from Saddle Road. Fissure 3 is currently feeding lava flows moving east parallel to the Northeast Rift Zone. These remain at above 10,000 feet elevation and over 10 miles away from Saddle Road. We do not expect upper fissures to reactivate. However, additional fissures could open along the Northeast Rift Zone below the current location, and lava flows can continue to travel downslope.
There is no active lava within Moku'āweoweo caldera, and there is no lava erupting from the Southwest Rift Zone. We do not expect any eruptive activity outside the Northeast Rift Zone. No property is at risk currently. There is a visible gas plume from the erupting fissure fountains and lava flows, with the plume primarily being blown to the Northwest.
Update to Volcanic Activity:
The eruption of Mauna Loa has migrated from the summit to the Northeast Rift Zone where fissures are feeding several lava flows. HVO staff on an overflight at approximately 6:30 am HST confirmed fissures at high elevations within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park are feeding lava flows upslope of the Mauna Loa Weather Observatory. Lava flows are not threatening any downslope communities and all indications are that the eruption will remain in the Northeast Rift Zone. Volcanic gas and possibly fine ash and Pele's Hair may be carried downwind.
Residents at risk from Mauna Loa lava flows should review preparedness and refer to Hawai‘i County Civil Defense information for further guidance.
Based on past events, the early stages of a Mauna Loa rift zone eruption can be very dynamic, and the location and advance of lava flows can change rapidly.
HVO is in close consultation with emergency management partners and will monitor the volcano closely to provide further updates on activity.
At about 11:30 p.m. HST on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, Mauna Loa volcano on the island of Hawai‘i began erupting.
At this time, the lava is confined to the immediate area of the mountain’s summit, and has not begun flowing outside that area. No communities downslope from the caldera are immediately threatened, and about half of all recorded Mauna Loa eruptions have been confined to the summit area.
The USGS’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) has increased the alert level for volcanic activity on Mauna Loa from “advisory” to “warning” with the start of eruption. The volcano has been exhibiting increased seismic activity since September.
HVO also increased the aviation threat level from “yellow” to “red” to reflect the presence of airborne gases, ash particles, and possibly “Pele’s hair” volcanic glass fibers.
The Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA) has activated its Emergency Operations Center for enhanced monitoring of the evolving situation and provide any support requested. At this time, no evacuation has been ordered.
Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park has closed the Mauna Loa summit area to visitors; for more information please see https://www.nps.gov/havo/index.htm.
Vog information can be found at https://vog.ivhhn.org/.
For preparedness information from Hawai‘i County, see these resources: https://hawaii-county-volcano-hazards-hawaiicountygis.hub.arcgis.com/.
HVO is continuing to monitor conditions carefully and will issue additional notices as needed.
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