The island of Hawaii, nicknamed the “big island,” witnessed a renewed eruption by Mauna Loa that had been quiet since 1984.
On Sunday at 11:30 P.M., the summit crater named Mokuaweoweo started to erupt with lava, beginning to fill the crater up. This was soon followed by the lava beginning to flow through cracks out onto the mountainside both on the southwest and northeast sides of the volcano.
By the next day, the fissure activity shifted toward the northeast side of the volcano with all activity in the summit crater having ceased. This was reported by the U.S. Geological Survey on a Twitter post with daily updates on this event.
As the eruption continues, emergency management officials continue to keep an eye on it. According to Hawaii News Now, the alert given out to residents who live close to the volcano is to remain vigilant by staying updated and prepared for evacuation, cautioning them to come up with an evacuation plan ahead of time.
So far, the lava flow does not pose an immediate threat to any residents on the island as of writing this article.
In response to this eruption, the Hawaii County Civil Defense has already opened up shelters both in Kona and Pahala for those voluntarily leaving their home of residence out of concern surrounding the eruption.
Since this eruption recently started, it remains unclear as to how long this event will last. However, as the lava continues to flow out, concerns over air quality remain to be monitored. The state’s Department of Health wrote, “the eruption could cause vog conditions, ash in the air, and levels of sulfur dioxide to increase and fluctuate in various areas of the state. Conditions are changing rapidly, and poor air quality may be very localized.”
This event has been anticipated for the past few months due to recent earthquakes and signs of increased activity on Mauna Loa. AP News wrote that meetings conducted by the civil defense agency were already discussed in advance in preparation by the time the eruption first began.
The last time the volcano erupted was in 1984. During that event, the island’s largest town, Hilo, according to SFGate, nearly suffered damages from the lava flow as the flow headed toward the city. However, it stopped just under five miles away from reaching the city limits.
While Mauna Loa is the biggest active volcano, it is not the only active spot on the big island. There are three other hotspots: Kilauea, Mauna Kea and Hualalai. Kilauea made headline news a few years ago when the island faced an unexpected eruption that occurred tens of kilometers away from the usual fissure, destroying many neighborhoods in a residential area called Leilani Estates.