HomeOutdoorsNewsHawaii Mauna Loa Volcano Lava Threatening Major Big Island Highway

Hawaii Mauna Loa Volcano Lava Threatening Major Big Island Highway

by Sean Griffin
(Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

CBS News posted a series of clips to Twitter showing the massive lava flow at Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano, which was seen spewing lava on Thursday.

In the video posted below, aerial footage captures the massive spilling of lava from the volcano. In the first clip, the lava bubbles like a boiling cauldron in a huge bowl at the top of the volcano. Then, other clips show the flow of lava running down the mountainside at a rapid pace.

Another aerial shot seems to be drawn: the stark red line across the landscape doesn’t even look real.

You can see the viral clip below.

Reportedly, the lava flow remains at least once week from reaching the busy Daniel K. Inouye Highway.

Mayor Mitch Roth said that roughly 2,000 vehicles travelled on a newly opened Traffic Hazard Mitigation Route last night. The route is a one-way, 4.5-mile stretch of Old Saddle Road between the Gilbert Kahele State Recreation Area and Pu‘u Huluhulu. The route also offers drivers a safe place to park and view the lava flow.

Mauna Loa iis one of five volcanoes that comprises the island of Hawaii in the state of Hawaii. It’s the biggest subaerial volcano in both mass and volume. The volcano has historically been considered the largest volcano on Earth, but it actually falls in second behind Tamu Massif, although that’s a subaquatic volcano.

Last Mauna Loa Volcano Eruption Occurred in 1984

Mauna Loa is an active shield volcano with fairly gentle slopes. It’s volume is an estimated at 18,000 cubic miles, although its peak is about 125 feet lower than its neighbor, Mauna Kea. Lava eruptions from Mauna Loa are silica-poor and very fluid.

Scientists believe that Mauna Loa has been erupting for at least 700,000 years. It most likely rose above sea level about 400,000 years ago. The oldest-known dated rocks are at 200,000 years. The volcano’s magma comes from the Hawaii hotspot, which created the Hawaiian islands over tens of millions of years. The slow drift of the Pacific Plate will eventually carry Mauna Loa away from the hotspot sometime in the distant future. Around 500,000 to one million years from now, it will become extinct.

Mauna Loa’s most recent eruption is currently ongoing and initially began on November 27, 2022.

This marks the first eruption since 1984. No recent eruptions of the volcano have caused any deaths, but eruptions in 1926 and 1950 destroyed many villages. The city of Hilo is partially built on lava flows from the late 19th century.

Because of the potential hazards it poses to population centers, Mauna Loa is part of the Decade Volcanoes program. This group studies many of the world’s most dangerous volcanoes.

Mauna Loa has been monitored by the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory since 1912. Observations of the atmosphere are undertaken at the Mauna Loa Observatory and of the Sun at the Mauna Loa Solar Observatory. Both of these observatories can be found near the mountain’s summit. 

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park covers the summit and parts of the surrounding area. It also includes Kīlauea, a separate volcano.