HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY STATUS REPORT
U.S. Geological Survey
Thursday, December 8, 2022, 4:46 PM HST (Friday, December 9, 2022, 02:46 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: ORANGE
The Northeast Rift Zone eruption of Mauna Loa continues with one active fissure, fissure 3, feeding lava flows downslope.
Fissure 3 vent continues to erupt but the supply of lava was reduced this morning. Lava was overtopping channels near the vent with flows extending no farther than 2.75 mi (4.4 km) from the vent as of approximately 9:30 a.m. this morning, December 8. The channels below this point appear drained of lava and probably no longer feed the main flow front, which remains stalled about 1.7 mi (2.8 km) from the Daniel K. Inouye Highway (Saddle Road). The lava flow is now inactive for most of its lower length, but the flow front may appear to advance a little as it settles.
Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission rates of approximately 130,000 tonnes per day (t/d) were measured on December 7, 2022, and remain elevated at this time. Volcanic gas is rising high and vertically into the atmosphere before being blown to the west at high altitude, generating vog (volcanic air pollution) in areas downwind. The Hawaii Interagency Vog Information Dashboard has detailed information about vog: https://vog.ivhhn.org/. Forecasts for the dispersion of vog can be found on the VMAP Vog Forecast Dashboard: http://weather.hawaii.edu/vmap/new/.
Pele's hair (strands of volcanic glass) fragments are being wafted great distances and have been reported as far Honoka‘a.
Tremor (a signal associated with subsurface fluid movement) continues beneath the currently active fissure. 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/most-recent-mauna-loa-northeast-rift-zone-eruption-map
- Information on lava viewing: https://hawaii-county-volcano-hazards-hawaiicountygis.hub.arcgis.com/
- The network connection for our streaming video of the fissure 3 fountains has been going in and out. If it is working, you can view it at https://www.youtube.com/usgs/live
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 website in the morning and afternoon at: https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/mauna-loa/volcano-updates
- 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. These particles are sharp and can irritate the skin and eyes and could be respiratory health hazard.
Secondary hazards: Lava flow advance into vegetated areas may generate secondary hazards by igniting small fires in vegetation adjacent to lava flow margins. Lava flows that cover and burn vegetation and soil also introduce the hazard of subsurface natural gas pockets igniting, which can cause methane explosions. These explosions can blast lava fragments up to several meters (yards) away and can be hazardous to observers.
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.
Subscribe to these messages: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/vns2/
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