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Menopausal Mother Nature

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Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii erupts!

Mauna Loa volcano is erupting

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) issued an alert during the night last night (11:45 p.m. HST on November 27, 2022) that the famous Mauna Loa volcano – located inside Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park – is now in eruption for the first time since 1984. Hawaii News Now reported early on November 28 in a story titled Mauna Loa erupting; county opens shelters as South Kona residents self-evacuate:

USGS webcams at the summit clearly showed a long fissure erupting fountains of lava which was spreading along the caldera floor.

The U.S. Geological Survey initially said that lava was contained to the caldera. But within two hours of the start of the eruption, residents on the Kona side of the volcano recorded images that appeared to show lava starting to flow down the mountain.

Lava confined to caldera, at first

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) had previously written this alert:

At approximately 11:30 p.m. HST this evening, November 27, an eruption began in Moku’aweoweo, the summit caldera of Mauna Loa, inside. At this time, lava flows are contained within the summit area and are not threatening downslope communities. Winds may carry volcanic gas and possibly fine ash and Pele’s hair [cooled lava, stretched into thin strands] downwind.

Residents at risk from Mauna Loa lava flows should review preparedness and refer to Hawai‘i County Civil Defense information for further guidance.

Based on past events, the early stages of a Mauna Loa eruption can be very dynamic and the location and advance of lava flows can change rapidly.

If the eruption remains in Moku’aweoweo, lava flows will most likely be confined within the caldera walls. However, if the eruptive vents migrate outside its walls, lava flows may move rapidly downslope.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory is in close consultation with emergency management partners and will be monitoring the volcano closely to provide further updates on activity. As soon as possible, HVO will conduct aerial reconnaissance to better describe the eruption and assess hazards.

Summit, cabins and high-elevation areas closed

The surrounding Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park had previously closed Mauna Loa’s summit, cabins and high-elevation areas due to increased seismicity, as the USGS continued to closely monitor Mauna Loa for changes.

This story will be updated.

Bottom line: Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii is erupting for the 1st time in 38 years. At first, lava appeared to be confined to the volcano’s caldera, but now it’s been reported flowing downslope.

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