Hawaii: Eruptions Appear to Have Stopped

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NPS Photo/J.Wei

Two volcanoes on Hawaii’s Big Island — Kilauea and Mauna Loa — have ceased active eruption, according to the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. While the active eruptions of the volcanoes never posed a threat to meetings or conventions being held on the island, they did put on quite a show.

Mauna Loa, the world’s largest volcano, caused a lot of excitement, and no small amount of fear, when it began erupting on November 27. Lava flows from the volcano, which had been dormant for 38 years, had been oozing toward Route 200, also known as the Daniel K. Inouye Highway, the main roadway that crosses the Big Island.

But that danger appears to have passed as the lava flows began to diminish last week, and as of yesterday, scientists at the the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory say that Mauna Loa, along with its smaller sister volcano Kilauea, which also had become active recently, have stopped erupting.

“Due to the current pause in Maunaloa lava activity, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) has lowered their Volcanic Alert Level for Maunaloa from Watch to Advisory and Aviation Alert Level from Orange to Yellow. Lava activity continues to be confined to Fissure 3, within the vent and volcanic emissions is significantly reduced,” said a statement on the Hawaii Convention and Visitors Bureau website. Alert levels for Kilauea, which has been erupting since September 2021, also have been lowered from Watch to Advisory.

As of press time, there is still some remaining vog, a unique type of air pollution caused by a mix of sulfur dioxide and other gases, which at the height of the eruptions blanketed the island. However, other than that, neither volcano posed any meaningful risk to meetings, conventions or other events taking place on the island of Hawaii.

Ken Hon, the observatory’s Scientist in Charge, called Mauna Loa’s two-week blow-out “a beautiful eruption.” During a briefing on Tuesday, he added, “Lots of people got to see it, and it didn’t take out any major infrastructure and most importantly, it didn’t affect anybody’s life.”

While Moana Loa is not expected to gear back up again into full eruption mode, the observatory will continue to monitor it for any signs that it is resuming activity. Hon said at the briefing, “We feel pretty confident that this eruption has in fact, paused and is probably over.”

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