January 27, 2023

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First eruption in 40 years: Hawaii volcano Mauna Loa spews lava again

Hawaii trembles before volcanic disaster.

Orange, glowing lava erupts from Mauna Loa on Hawaii’s Big Island. After a nearly 40-year dormant phase, the world’s largest active volcano has erupted again. When it erupted most recently in 1984, a 25-kilometer lava flow flowed near the metropolis of Hilo Island (population 44,000).

It’s not that bad this time. But while the current eruption has so far only affected the Moku’aweoweo crater on the nearly 4100m summit, officials have already warned. People should prepare for the worst, therefore United States Earthquake Observatory USGS. After the first report on Sunday, the explosions continued on Monday morning (local time).

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According to the USGS, Mauna Loa’s past eruptions show that volcanic eruptions can be very dynamic, especially in the early stages, and the volume of lava flow can change rapidly. Additionally, wind can carry volcanic gases and ash into populated areas.

Communities located on the slope are not currently in serious danger from lava flow. However, islanders with homes in the immediate vicinity of the volcano should already be prepared for possible evacuations.

For the 200,000 residents of Hawaii Island, literally known as the “Big Island,” the fear of another volcanic disaster is omnipresent. “Little” Kilauea already erupted in 2018. Back then, numerous volcanoes and rocks caused catastrophic damage, destroying homes and roads, and severe earthquakes shook the entire Hawaiian archipelago. About 2000 people were evacuated. Since then, Kilauea has repeatedly spewed glowing red lava, though with no apparent effects on people.

According to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, the massive Mauna Loa, which covers about half of the 10,500 kmĀ² island, has already erupted 33 times – the last almost 40 years ago.

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