Hazard Notification System (HANS) for Volcanoes


U.S. Geological Survey
Monday, December 12, 2022, 9:35 AM HST (Monday, December 12, 2022, 19:35 UTC)

19°28'30" N 155°36'29" W, Summit Elevation 13681 ft (4170 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: WATCH
Current Aviation Color Code: ORANGE

The Northeast Rift Zone eruption of Mauna Loa may still be active at the fissure 3 (F3) vent but all 2022 lava flows appear to be inactive.  

As of 7:00 a.m. today, December 12, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory overflight found only residual incandescence and no lava movement in the F3 vent; as they were leaving the field crew heard small explosions accompanied by sprays of spatter from the west end of the fissure 3 (F3) vent. The channels below the vent appear drained of lava and no longer feed the main flow front. 

The inactive main flow front remains stalled about 1.7 mi (2.8 km) from the Daniel K. Inouye Highway (Saddle Road) when last measured the morning of December 10.  The inactive main flow front still glows at a few spots at night and may inch northward very slowly as it continues to settle. 

Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission rates continue to be reduced; on December 10, the emission rate was approximately 2,000 tonnes per day (t/d). 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/

Tremor (a signal associated with subsurface fluid movement) is no longer detectable; summit and Northeast Rift Zone inflation continues.   

The significance of the continuing inflation while the flow field is inactive is not yet clear; it is common for eruptions to wax and wane or pause completely, but none of the eight recorded eruptions from Mauna Loa’s Northeast Rift Zone returned to high eruption rates after those rates decreased significantly. Nevertheless, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory continues to closely monitor the current activity. 

There is no active lava within Moku'āweoweo caldera nor in either rift zone. Satellite imagery shows the entire 2022 flow field cooling and no longer active. 

Most recent eruption map: https://www.usgs.gov/media/images/most-recent-mauna-loa-northeast-rift-zone-eruption-map

Information on viewing the inactive flow front: https://hawaii-county-volcano-hazards-hawaiicountygis.hub.arcgis.com/  




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.   

Next Notice:

HVO Daily Updates on the status of Mauna Loa activity will be posted on the HVO website in the morning at: https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/mauna-loa/volcano-updates 

More Information:

Volcanic Hazards: 

Air quality/volcanic gas plume (fissure eruption): Low levels of volcanic gas, including sulfur dioxide (SO2) , are still 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.  

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.


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