Mauna Loa lava ‘spreading out like a pancake’
This story was updated Dec. 4 at 4:45 p.m.
The video above is a livestream of the eruption set up by the U.S. Geological Survey.
Mauna Loa volcano has been erupting for nearly one week. One active fissure, on the northeast rift zone, is continuing to spew lava. The flow downslope is moving slowly as it hits flatter ground. At noon Sunday the lava was 2.25 miles from Daniel K. Inouye Highway.
The leading edge of the lava was advancing at an average of 40 feet per hour over the past 24 hours.
“The lava is down on flatter ground and spreading out like a pancake,” said David Phillips with U.S. Geological Survey, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.
Because things have stabilized this morning, Phillips said USGS lowered the aviation color code from Red to Orange, adding there’s no longer a threat to aviation of significant volcanic ash emission. Temporary flight restrictions remain in place.
While there is no significant output coming from fissure 3, a seismic swarm detected beneath Mauna Loa last night indicates magma is still moving and supplying lava to fissure 3.
Mayor Mitch Roth said the traffic mitigation route saw more than 4,000 vehicles Saturday night. There was some backup. The mayor was out at the eruption this morning and said it took people about an hour to get through the 4.5-mile route.
For map updates of the Mauna Loa lava flow, refer to the Civil Defense Volcano Hazard tab on our website; https://www.hawaiicounty.gov/civil-defense.
The Daniel K. Inouye Highway is open in both directions. Due to reports of vehicle congestion, motorists are advised to plan for delays between the 28 and the 34 Mile Markers.
The speed limit near the Mauna Kea Access Road and Gilbert Kahele Park has been reduced to 35 mph.
There is no imminent threat to any of the communities on the island.