After erupting for the first time in nearly four decades, lava eruptions from Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano now “appear to be inactive.” The news comes from new reports from the U.S. Geological Survey.
On Tuesday, scientists announced that two of Hawaii’s active Hawaii volcanoes have suddenly stopped erupting. One eruption decimated hundreds of homes in 2018. The other erupted in late November, sending lava hurling toward a major road.
“Kilauea is no longer erupting,” the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory announced in a statement Tuesday. Then, they also announced that “Mauna Loa is no longer erupting.”
Mauna Loa’s eruption started on November 27 after being eerily still for 38 years. As a result, the area saw a massive spike in spectators to the world’s largest active volcano to gaze at its stunning bright-red lava. It would periodically shoot lava over 200 feet into the sky and even nearly hit a major highway on Hawaii’s Big Island. In contrast, Kilauea had been erupting since September 2021.
Now, alert levels for both volcanoes have been downgraded from a watch to an advisory.
Lava-watchers in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park enjoyed the additional rare opportunity of being able to bear witness to Mauna Loa’s neighbor, Kilauea, erupting simultaneously.
Mauna Loa & Kilauea volcanoes go quiet, officials continue to monitor the situation
Thankfully, Mauna Loa lava didn’t pose an imminent threat to residents. However, it came within less than two miles of a major highway that joins together the east and west sides of the Big Island.
Meanwhile, these eruptions have deep-rooted cultural and spiritual meanings for indigenous Hawaiians. During Mauna Loa’s eruption, many native Hawaiians took part in cultural traditions. They practiced singing, chanting, dancing, and leaving items to honor a Hawaiian deity known as Pele. In the culture, Pele is the god of volcanoes and fire.
According to officials at the observatory, the ongoing lava supply to Mauna Loa stopped on Saturday. They added that the volcanic tremor and earthquakes as a result of the eruption “greatly diminished.”
“Spots of incandescence may remain near the vent, along channels, and at the flow front for days or weeks as the lava flows cool,” the observatory’s activity summary announced. “However, eruptive activity is not expected to return based on past eruptive behavior.”
The observatory noted that the lava supply to Kilauea’s famous Halemaʻumaʻu lava lake also ceased on Friday. “Potential remains for resumption of this eruption or initiation of a new eruption at or near the summit of Kilauea,” they said.
Although both volcanoes have gone quiet, officials at the observatory will continue watching the volcanoes closely for signs of any activity. USGS scientists and Hawaiian officials were scheduled to hold a meeting on Tuesday.