Hawaii’s largest active volcano, Mauna Loa, erupted for the first time since 1984 on Nov. 28, 6 a.m. HST. It’s located on Hawaii’s Big Island and created up to an inch of ashfall on the island. The National Weather Service in Honolulu warned residents with respiratory illnesses should stay inside because of the intense ashfall.
“Anyone outside should cover their mouth and nose with a mask or cloth. Possible harm to crops and animals. Minor equipment and infrastructure damage. Reduced visibility. Widespread clean-up may be necessary,” the Weather Service reported.
Now, as we head into December, we’ve seen more and more footage of the eruption and its incredible impact. The U.S. Geological Survey posted images and video of the volcano spewing liquid rock on Thursday as the flow begins to dissipate.
If you only had 15 seconds…what would you do to relax?— USGS Volcanoes🌋 (@USGSVolcanoes) December 2, 2022
We’d watch this video of #MaunaLoa fissure 3 spouting blebs of liquid rock into the air. Ah…nothing like a good lava fountain to meditate on. More #HVO photos and videos: https://t.co/cHS3iWPKKL #MaunaLoaErupts pic.twitter.com/rGc7yJ9ubG
Mauna Loa broke its longest record this week, with 38 years between its last eruption and this one. The USGS reported that there are two active fissures expelling lava downslope, and a third fissure flowing north toward Daniel K. Inouye Highway. But, the organization also reported that the lava is slowing down, as expected, because it’s now reached flatter ground. Lava from Fissure 3 has slowed to 131.2 feet per hour, which is about 0.025 mph.
There is also a fourth fissure that was previously active and flowing northeast. But as of Thursday, the lava from that fissure has stalled.
Mauna Loa Is Attracting People Who Want to Watch the Mesmerizing Glowing Lava
Volcanoes are endlessly fascinating, especially when there’s no immediate threat of lava headed your way. When it’s possible to set up camp and witness the glowing phenomenon, people take that opportunity. That’s what they’re doing now, with residents of Hawaii’s Big Island and tourists posting up around the volcano to watch the lava flow.
People are taking it upon themselves to watch the volcano from a main road on the island, which is actually causing major traffic issues. Thousands of people have gathered there, turning a Hawaiian thoroughfare into a tourist destination.
“It’s a thrill,” Hawaii local Kathryn Tarananda told the New York Post. “We’re out in the middle of raw nature. It’s awe-inspiring that we live in this place. I feel really, really fortunate to be an islander.”
As of Wednesday, Dec. 1, the lava flow was 6 miles from the highway, coming from Fissure 3. Those gathered definitely need to take caution. The lava may be slowing, but the heat, gasses, and ash still travel.