MAUNA LOA, Hawaii (KHON2) — The U.S. Geological Survey said that the Northeast Rift Zone eruption of Mauna Loa is continuing. There is little change reported by the agency.
At this time, there is one active fissure — fissure 3 — that is feeding lava downslope as it flows north toward Old Saddle Road, aka the Daniel K. Inouye Highway.
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Because the area where the lava is flowing is relatively flat, the lava has somewhat slowed over the last few days moving at about 40 feet per hour. Lava is currently approximately 2.4 miles away from the highway.
The flat ground between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea typically allows the lava flows to move slowly which then spreads out. At this point, the flow rate is remaining highly variable, according to scientists. There may be a situation where individual lobes will move lava quickly but these usually stall and additional breakouts can occur when or if lava channels become blocked upslope. This is why it is difficult to estimate when or if lava will reach DKI Highway, said USGS.
Two impacts felt by residents and visitors are vog and Pele’s hair. With volcanic gas plumes hurling high into the atmosphere, vog is being pushed westward and downward. Sulfer dioxide [SO2] is being released at approximately 180,000 tonnes per day [t/d].
The thin strands of volcanic glass known as Pele’s hair are being flurried great distances with reports of Pele’s hair as far away as the Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station.
Magma is clearly continuing to be supplied to the fissure as scientists said that tremors continue to be active in the area.
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Moku’āweoweo caldera has no active lava flow, and the Southwest Rift Zone is not erupting. Scientists said that they do not expect eruptive activity outside of the Northeast Rift Zone.