The latest information on Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano eruption

Mauna Loa eruption fissure producing fountains of lava on November  28, 2022. USGS photo by K. Lynn.

As we shared yesterday, Mauna Loa erupted for the first time since 1984. Today, we wanted to share some of the images and helpful information from the first day.

100 to 200-ft Lava Fountains!

In the past 24 hours, the lava activity has migrated from the summit caldera at Moku’aweoweo to three fissures near just below the summit on the Northeast Rift Zone. At the most recent check on the morning of November 29th, only one of the three fissure is still active. From our observation, fissures are generally short lived.

The fissures from this eruption have produced lava fountains. The estimates for the tallest lava fountain heights are between 100 and 200 feet or 30 to 60 meters. Wow!

Lava flow on Mauna Loa
Mauna Loa fissure producing lava streams on November 28, 2022. USGS photo by K. Lynn.

Current eruption is posing no threats to local communities

As Hawaii County Mayor Roth stated, “We’ve been told that the lava is heading in the best possible direction, which is away from our communities.” Lava is flowing downslope in a northeasterly direction. The following map provided by the USGS shows the lava location and direction. The area is uninhabited and approximately 10 miles away from the main highways.

Color map of eruption

Bright glows visible from miles away

The sight of lava flowing is truly awesome! Residents and visitors have been able to observe a bright reddish, orangeish glow from Mauna Loa summit from miles away. The eruption has been visible from both the Kona and Hilo sides of Hawaii (Big) Island.

Here’s an excerpt from this report from West Hawaii Today,

Resident Sean Sommers was one of many residents who ventured out in the wee hours to see the eruption that lit up the night sky. While pulled off Old Saddle Road around 5 a.m., he said Monday’s eruption was the second time he’s witnessed Mauna Loa send lava down its flanks. He added that his mother-in-law, who lives in Kawaihae, said she had never seen such a bright glow from the mountain in her lifetime.

“This is a lot bigger than 1984,” the long-time resident said while snapping photos of the orange glow with his cell phone in the cool night air.

Over the next half-hour, the glow from the summit crater appeared to grow brighter. Around 5:30 a.m., photos taken by a West Hawaii Today editor posted at the Gilbert Kahele Recreation Area showed channels or “fingers” of lava forming on Mauna Loa’s northeastern flank. By 5:45 a.m., the channels of lava flowing downslope were clearly visible as the sky began to lighten in the morning hours.

Video footage from the first day of this new Mauna Loa eruption


Here is a list of helpful and interesting resources for more information:

Mauna Loa eruption updates from the USGS

Mauna Loa webcams

USGS image gallery

Hawaii County Civil Defense page for volcano hazards

What you need to know about vog (volcanic gases) in Hawaii

Information regarding travel to Hawaii

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