HONOLULU (KHON2) — The United States Geological Survey has confirmed that a key transit route on Hawaii Island is no longer threatened by magma from the Mauna Loa eruption as of Thursday, Dec. 8.
Even though fissure 3 continues to erupt in an even more spectacular fashion, this fountain atop the Big Island’s major roadway is safe for now.
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“Right now we don’t expect that the new lava coming out of the surface to be able to replenish the supply of the flows that are close to Daniel K. Inouye Highway,” said Geologist Frank Trusdell from the USGS.
David Phillips, HVO Deputy Scientist in Charge said, “As of this morning the flow front that we’ve all been watching as it’s encroached on the Saddle Road that flow front is basically inactive.”
The eruption remains very much active but HVO said the supply appears to be reduced.
Phillips added, “Flows are overlapping overtopping in stagnant channels and spreading out so it’s not right now it hasn’t organized into a new big lava flow or anything like that yet it’s kind of coming out of the vent it’s kind of just following the topography going on top of the former channels.”
Civil Defense said they’ll remain on the job 24 hours a day as the eruption continues, with meetings every morning with first responders, Federal Emergency Management Agency and HVO among others.
Talmadge Magno, Hawaii County Civil Defense said, “Yeah as long as the lava is coming out of the ground we’re going to be monitoring.
That is quite the show that we are witnesses to. Last night madam Pele fired lava two to five hundred feet into the sky from fissure 3. Enough to spot with the naked eye even though fissure 3 sits at an 11,500-foot elevation.
Phillips said, “That was kind of noticeable everywhere on the island so last night we were discussing there could be a couple of things causing that one is there could be more magma in the system and a there’s more lava coming out, on the other hand, it could be the same amount of lava but you’re simply constricting the vent so kind of like putting your thumb over a garden hose.”
An added bonus is that this Mauna Loa viewing area also remains open. It really is a fantastic experience and easy to use with the direction of National Guard members. This is our fourth night up here and we have yet to not only find a spot to park but to use a sports analogy, there isn’t a bad seat in the house.
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All other flow fronts remain above Mauna Loa Observatory Road and fissure 3 continues to remain active. On Wednesday night, fountains at the summit did put on a show with flows reaching hundreds of feet in the air.