USGS: Mauna Loa eruption ‘may still’ be active, but lava flows have ceased
HILO (HawaiiNewsNow) - The eruption at Mauna Loa is waning, but officials aren’t yet ready to say it’s over.
The U.S. Geological Survey said Fissure 3 “may still be active,” though activity has definitely waned. What is clear: All lava flows are inactive, meaning they’re not advancing downslope.
“The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory overflight found only residual incandescence and no lava movement in the F3 vent,” USGS said, in its latest update.
“As they were leaving, the field crew heard small explosions accompanied by sprays of spatter from the west end of the fissure 3 vent. The channels below the vent appear drained of lava and no longer feed the main flow front.”
28 billion gallons of lava later, Kilauea eruption at summit crater is on pause
The slowdown comes as the eruption at Kilauea volcano has paused.
Scientists say while the two volcanoes are independent, it’s completely clear whether there’s any link between the Kilauea pause and the Mauna Loa slowdown.
Over the weekend, the alert level for Mauna Loa volcano was downgraded from a warning to a watch. Decreasing the alert level for the volcano means there are limited hazards associated with the eruption.
The announcement comes after officials previously said the eruption was no longer posing a threat to the Daniel K. Inouye Highway, a key thoroughfare that connects Hilo and Kona.
Meanwhile, a temporary flight restriction over the volcano remains in effect through Dec. 17.
Officials continued to reiterate there is no direct threat to downslope communities.
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The Mauna Loa eruption started Nov. 27 after months of elevated earthquake activity. The 13,681-foot Mauna Loa volcano had been rumbling more in the last several months, prompting many to believe an eruption was imminent. The last time Mauna Loa erupted was in 1984.
For details on volcano hazard zones, click here.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
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