HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY DAILY UPDATE
U.S. Geological Survey
Saturday, December 3, 2022, 8:45 AM HST (Saturday, December 3, 2022, 18:45 UTC)
MAUNA LOA VOLCANO (VNUM #332020)
19°28'30" N 155°36'29" W, Summit Elevation 13681 ft (4170 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: WARNING
Current Aviation Color Code: RED
The Northeast Rift Zone eruption of Mauna Loa continues, with little change over the past 24 hours. One active fissure, fissure 3, is feeding a lava flow downslope. Fissures 1, 2, and 4 are no longer active.
Fissure 3 is generating a lava flow traveling to the north toward the Daniel K. Inouye Highway (Saddle Road) that has reached relatively flatter ground and slowed down significantly over the past several days, as expected. As of 7:00 a.m. this morning, December 3, the flow front was about 2.5 mi (4 km) from the Daniel K. Inouye Highway (Saddle Road). During the past 24 hours, the lava flow advanced at an average rate of about 40 feet per hour (13 meters per hour). Though the advance rate has slowed over the past 24 hours, the lava flow remains active.
Fissure 4 is no longer active; HVO geologists observed only glowing cracks in the area of fissure 4 during the eruption monitoring overflight this morning.
Advance rates may be highly variable over the coming days and weeks. On the flat ground between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, lava flows advance more slowly, spread out, and inflate. Individual lobes may advance quickly, and then stall. Additional breakouts may occur if lava channels get blocked upslope. There are many variables at play and both the direction and timing of flow advances are expected to change over periods of hours to days, making it difficult to estimate when or if the flow will impact Daniel K. Inouye Highway.
Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission rates of approximately 180,000 tonnes per day (t/d) were measured on December 1, 2022, and remain elevated. Volcanic gas plumes are lofting high and vertically into the atmosphere before being blown to the west at high altitude, generating vog in areas downwind. Vog information can be found at https://vog.ivhhn.org/.
Pele's hair (strands of volcanic glass) fragments are being wafted great distances and have been reported as far Laupāhoehoe.
Tremor (a signal associated with subsurface fluid movement) continues beneath the currently active fissures. This indicates that magma is still being supplied to the fissure, and activity is likely to continue as long as we see this signal.
There is no active lava within Moku'āweoweo caldera nor the Southwest Rift Zone. We do not expect any eruptive activity outside the Northeast Rift Zone.
Most recent eruption map: https://www.usgs.gov/media/images/december-2-2022-mauna-loa-eruption-map
New webcam: [M7cam] Live Image of Mauna Loa's Northeast Flank from Mauna Kea; view is to the south [M7cam]. See https://www.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo/m7cam-mauna-loa-northeast-flank
Residents with questions about emergency response and resources that may be available to assist those at risk should consult https://hawaii-county-civil-defense-agency-hawaiicountygis.hub.arcgis.com/.
Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park has closed the Mauna Loa Road from Kīpukapuaulu and the closure extends to the summit caldera; for more information please see https://www.nps.gov/havo/index.htm.
HVO Daily Updates on the status of Mauna Loa activity will be posted on the HVO web site at: https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/mauna-loa/volcano-updates
You can receive these updates via email by subscribing to the free Volcano Notification Service at: http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/vns/.
Questions can be emailed to askHVO@usgs.gov.
- Mauna Loa activity summary also available by phone: (808) 967-8866
- Mauna Loa webcam images: https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/mauna-loa/webcams
- Mauna Loa photos/video: https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/mauna-loa/photo-and-video-chronology-mauna-loa
- Mauna Loa maps: https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/mauna-loa/maps
- Mauna Loa FAQs: https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/mauna-loa/frequently-asked-questions-about-mauna-loa-volcano
- Recent Volcano Watch on Mauna Loa: https://www.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo/news/volcano-watch-mauna-loa-reawakens-0
- Map-based webpage for Mauna Loa: https://geonarrative.usgs.gov/maunaloa/
- Additional Mauna Loa Resources: https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/mauna-loa/prepare-mauna-loa-resources
Air quality/volcanic gas plume (fissure eruption): High levels of volcanic gas, including sulfur dioxide (SO2) , are emitted from the fissure vents. As SO2 is released from the eruption, it will react in the atmosphere with oxygen, sunlight, moisture, and other gases and particles and within hours to days, convert to fine particles. The particles scatter sunlight and cause the visible haze, known as vog (volcanic air pollution, from “volcanic smog”). Vog creates the potential for airborne health hazards to residents and visitors, damages agricultural crops and other plants, and affects livestock operations.
Lava flows: Hawaiian lava flows generally advance slowly enough that people can avoid them. They can destroy everything in their paths, including vegetation and infrastructure—which can cut off road access and utilities. Hazards associated with active or recent lava flows include hot and glassy (sharp) surfaces that can cause severe burns, abrasions, and lacerations upon contact with unprotected or exposed skin; uneven and rough terrain can lead to falls and other injuries; hot temperatures that can cause heat exhaustion or dehydration, or in heavy rain can produce steamy ground-fog that can be acidic, severely limiting visibility and sometimes causing difficulty breathing.
Tephra fall: Pele's hair and other lightweight volcanic glass fragments from lava fountains and spattering will fall downwind, dusting the ground within a few hundred meters (yards) of the vent. High winds may waft lighter particles and transport them greater distances downwind. Residents are urged to minimize exposure to these volcanic particles, which can cause skin and eye irritation similar to volcanic ash.
Secondary hazards: Lava flow advance into vegetated areas may generate secondary hazards by igniting small fires in vegetation adjacent to lava flow margins.
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory is one of five volcano observatories within the U.S. Geological Survey and is responsible for monitoring volcanoes and earthquakes in Hawaiʻi and American Samoa.
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Summary of volcanic hazards from eruptions: https://www.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo/hazards
Recent earthquakes in Hawaiʻi (map and list): https://www.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo
Explanation of Volcano Alert Levels and Aviation Color Codes: https://www.usgs.gov/programs/VHP/volcanic-alert-levels-characterize-conditions-us-volcanoes