|Mauna Loa's glow looms above Pāhala Monday evening. Photo by Julia Neal|
Ken Hon, Chief Scientist with USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said, "We're hoping that this lava flow - while it will be a big, spectacular event - it occupies a fairly small proportion of the island and hopefully it will have relatively minor affects on the residents and visitors to the island." During a press conference Monday, Hon noted that the Mauna Loa eruption began at about 11:30 p.m. Sunday leading to lava covering almost the entire floor of the caldera. He said lava did leave the big caldera but stayed in summit area. Fissures that ran from the north to the southwest last night and were seen from Kona "only made it a couple of kilometers from the caldera," said Hon. About 5 a.m. Monday, USGS detected lava flows and the locus of seismic activity moving north northeast. At 6:30 a.m., USGS confirmed with overflights that lava flows were moving from fissures that had opened up in in northeast direction. Hon said the eruption progressed from a summit eruption to a rift zone eruption.
|View from Wood Valley Road. Photo by Julia Neal|
Hon explained that the "Northeast Rift Zone empties into the Saddle between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea and said, "There is no real habitation up there." He said that the military's Pohakuloa Training Area in the Saddle and Mauna Loa Weather Observatory are not directly threatened.
Hon said that eventually the lava flow could potentially threaten populated areas around Hilo like in 1984, "but we are looking at somewhere around a week before we expect lava to get anywhere" in that direction - into the Hilo area. He said if this eruption is similar to Mauna Loa's last eruption in 1984, the
|HVO field crews at the summit of Mauna Loa on Monday to make observations and collect information to create and update lava flow maps and inform hazard analysis. USGS photo|
Hon also explained that during the 2018 Kilauea eruption the lava moved underground, slowly at first before coming to the surface. He said eruptions are different from Mauna Loa. There is the "unzipping of the rift zone, pushing hot new lava right out." He said the Mauna Loa eruptions usually start
Aerial photo taken Monday morning from Civil Air Patrol flight over the Northeast Rift Zone eruption of Mauna Loa.
blow over to Maui. He noted that the 33 past Mauna Loa eruptions averaged two weeks, with the exception of a few that lasted only a few days and a few over a year. He said Mauna Loa has not had an explosive eruption and he doesn't expect them. Instead, this is an effusive lava producing eruption with fairly low fountains, said Hon.
|The lavender shows lava flows on Mauna Loa since 1843, including|
those that headed into Kaʻū along the Southwest Rift Zone. The red
shows fissures active in the Northeast Rift zone, headed toward
Saddle Road. The eruption began Sunday night. USGS map
For everyone’s safety, the park closed Mauna Loa Road from the gate at Kīpukapuaulu Monday morning to vehicles. The summit, cabins and high-elevation areas of Mauna Loa have been closed since early October when the volcano began to show signs of unrest and increased seismicity. In addition, Mauna Loa Observatory Road, outside of the park, is also closed to the public.
The new eruption, which is the first time Mauna Loa has erupted since 1984, is expected to draw an influx of visitors to the park who hope to see a rare dual eruption from both Kīlauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes. Viewing areas along Kīlauea caldera before sunrise on Monday revealed a massive glow from Mauna Loa caldera, Mokuʻāweoweo (13,677 ft. elevation) and a smaller lava lake within Halemaʻumaʻu (4,009 ft.) at the summit of Kīlauea.
Neither eruption is threatening homes or infrastructure at this time. Kīlauea has been erupting since Sept. 29, 2021 with lava confined to the summit lava lake.
“Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park is keeping close watch on Mauna Loa in tandem with our colleagues at USGS and Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense,” said Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park Superintendent, Rhonda Loh. “The park is currently open, but visitors should be prepared and stay informed,” Loh said.
Visitors are urged to check the park website www.nps.gov/hawaiivolcanoes for closure updates, safety alerts, air quality and other information including links to the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory webcams and eruption updates.
The Federal Aviation Administration has enacted a Temporary Flight Restriction encompassing a five nautical mile radius around Mauna Loa summit and 5,000 above ground level. Approved emergency response flights are excepted.
GIFT GIVING HAS BEEN ADDED TO OCEAN VIEW'S CHRISTMAS LIGHT SHOW. The over-the-top extravaganza in Ranchos makes Lehua and Palm Streets a popular Ocean View Christmas destination,
attracting droves of awed keiki and elated “kids” of all ages.
Kaida Houvener and his family are famous for transforming their corner property into a display of Christmas lights and holiday icons. This year, Christmas eve will be even more special as Houvener dons a traditional Santa outfit and greets keiki on the corner of Lehua and Palm, giving each a small gift. Thanks to the generosity of the Ocean View community, including South Point U Cart and Ace
|The light show and Christmas wonderland is on nightly in Ocean|
View, courtesy of the Houvener family of Ranchos.
Photo by Peter Bosted
nearby to play a part in making wonderful memories.
Three hundred presents for 300 lucky boys and girls is not all that Santa has planned. There will also be four bikes that will be given to keiki on Christmas day. The four lucky ones will have their names drawn from four jars on Christmas eve. There will be a tricycle for a lucky girl and another for a lucky boy. And there will be a two-wheeler for a lucky girl aged six to nine, and another for a lucky boy that age. To enter, the keiki simply write their names and phone numbers on a ticket and drop the ticket into the appropriate jar. The owners of the four tickets that are drawn (one from each of the four jars) will be contacted by Santa on Christmas day and their names will be on Facebook.
For this unique Christmas eve event, Lehua will be closed to autos between Ocean View and Palm, while Palm vehicular traffic will narrow to one lane as it crosses Lehua. In this way, Santa will be able to
|Kaida Houvenour and Santa.|
Photo by Peter Bosted
Houvener said he hopes that neither the weather nor the eruption atop Mauna Loa will stop the celebrations. If it is raining on Christmas eve, Santa will hand out gifts to keikis in cars as they are driven by. If the rain is light, the fantastic display of lights will go on, but heavy rain will kibosh the event. This year, Houvener will have his hundreds of Christmas icons securely tied down, so wind should not be the problem that it has been in past years.
The countless fans of the Houvener family’s Christmas display can show their appreciation by dropping cash into a donation box. Houvener will use the cash to buy more decorations at the box stores’ post-Christmas sales, so next year’s display will be even larger.
“I see our Christmas display as a community effort,” Houvener told The Ka’u Calendar, “as without the community this could not happen.
“When I see the joy in the eyes of the keiki, I feel the joy in my heart. I feel like a kid again. I want my community to feel the happiness that this community gives me and my wife and my daughter. This is the Christmas spirit that keeps us going and makes us try for a bigger and better show each year. It makes me happy to see others happy,” added Houvener.