If the eruption continues, it might cover the highway.Volcanologist Natalia Deligne with the United States Geological Survey on Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano, which began erupting last Sunday for the first time in nearly 40 years.
Big Picture: Mauna Loa, the world’s largest active volcano located on Hawaii’s Big Island, began erupting last Sunday. Although no local communities are at risk, the lava flow was less than two miles away from a main highway which connects one side of the island to the other as of Wednesday morning. Deligne explains: “We don’t know how long this eruption is going to last, and that will dictate whether or not the highway becomes more threatened.”
Why It Matters: If lava covers a portion of the highway causing it to close, it could cause disruptions to the thousands of commuters who drive on the road daily. As of Wednesday morning, the lava had been flowing “at an average rate slower than 20 feet” per hour over the previous 24 hours (USGS). The governor of Hawaii has also activated 20 National Guard service members to help with the flow of traffic as many tourists and islanders come to view the “glowrious” eruption.
Did You Know? The Mauna Loa volcano is one of six volcanoes that make up Hawaii’s Big Island. In a rare occurrence, two volcanoes are currently erupting at the same time on the island, incl. Mauna Loa and the Kilauea volcano (which has been erupting since 2021, and is not currently threatening communities).
by Jenna Lee,