Mauna Loa erupts

Mauna Loa erupts on the Big Island of Hawaii

Yesterday, my morning commute was enlivened by the sight of Mauna Loa erupting. The eruption started late Sunday night and the report I read, before leaving home, said the eruption was currently confined to the summit crater. That clearly wasn’t the case when I took these photos on the way to work. The quality isn’t great because they’re hand-held, but I think they illustrate the scene reasonably well.

In the top two photos, the red smoke is the glow of the lava, but the white/yellow bits are the lava itself. This was a flow moving down the slope of the volcano.

Mauna Loa erupts on the Big Island of Hawaii

By the time I got to work, the sky was lightening but the lava still stood out. In the bottom photo, Mauna Kea is left center, with a stunning sunrise developing behind it. Mauna Loa is on the right and the activity can clearly be seen on the left (northeast) slope of the volcano, some way down from the summit.

Mauna Loa erupts on the Big Island of Hawaii

When I got home, I read that three vents had opened on the northeast rift zone of the volcano, though only one was still active. Flows from Mauna Loa can reach the ocean in a matter of hours, depending on where they’re coming from and going to. This flow is currently heading towards the saddle between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, which is mostly a military training area and undeveloped land. The main current danger is from gasses and Pele’s hair, thin strands of brittle volcanic glass, being carried from the volcano to communities downwind. However, new vents could open farther down the rift, bringing lava closer to human habitation.

Changes in eruptions on Mauna Loa can happen pretty quickly so, as usual, the advice here is be prepared and keep tuned to updates on the situation.

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18 thoughts on “Mauna Loa erupts

  1. Pingback: Sunrise over Mauna Kea | Graham's Island

  2. kzmcb

    That is so exciting and I know you will be careful, as you have shared before that you use caution and keep your distance. Pele’s hair was very interesting when you explained it last time and I did some further research – pretty deadly stuff, like asbestos fibre. Stay safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Graham Post author

      I did pull over to take photos! Mauna Loa eruptions tend to be prolific, but short lived so I might go up in that direction on my next days off to see if I can get more photos before the eruption ends.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Graham Post author

      Glad you liked them Cee. Today, I saw some really great photos and video taken by people flying over the active area. I bet some of it can be found on social media.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. restlessjo

    I know that you’re accustomed to this happening, Graham, but it must sometimes sound alarm bells in your head. We occasionally watch National Geographic documentaries in which doom and gloom and an end of the world scenario is portrayed, centred mostly on Yellowstone. I try not to think about it. Stay safe, hon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Graham Post author

      I live on the northern tip of the island on the slopes of the extinct Kohala Volcano, so I really have nothing to worry about. My biggest concern is probably whether a flow from Mauna Loa will cut the highway I take to Costco!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Graham Post author

      Thanks. I wanted to capture a bit of the drama as well as the fact that people still have to go to work! I have a 30 minute commute and the last two thirds of it I get to see this current activity, so I’m a happy camper.

      Liked by 1 person

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