About The Kaʻū Calendar

Sunday, December 04, 2022

Kaʻū News Briefs, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022

The ongoing Northeast Rift Zone eruption of Mauna Loa, as viewed from the Daniel K. Inouye Highway (Saddle Road) shortly after 6 a.m. on Sunday. The eruption continues, with a flow front that is slowly advancing towards the highway. USGS image by N. Deligne 
STATE FUNDING FOR THIS AREA has been released by Gov. David Ige. Among the projects is renovation of Kaʻū Hospital & Rural Health Clinic's parking lot with $720,000 to Health Systems Corp., Hawai'i Region. Other funding for this area is lumped in with projects handled by various state departments.
Funding for Kaʻū Hospital improvements has been released
to improve parking. Photo by Julia Neal

CONTINUOUS ERUPTION OF MAUNA LOA'S FISSURE 3 was reported by Civil Defense Sunday afternoon. With leading edge of the lava flow still more than 2 miles from Saddle Road, the Daniel K. Inouye Highway, the route remains open in both directions. "No communities are at risk at this time."
    Hawai'i Police Department reports that the section of Old Saddle Road which was closed earlier today due to a Police investigation has been reopened for Lava Parking.
    For map updates of the Mauna Loa lava flow, refer to the Civil Defense Volcano Hazard information tab onhttps://www.hawaiicounty.gov/volcano-hazards.
See Civil Defense Volcano Hazard Map at https://www.hawaiicounty.gov/volcano-hazard-map See USGS-HVO Mauna Loa Fissure 3 Live Streaming Camera at
    Civil Defense has reminded that all areas adjacent to Daniel K Inouye Highway and Old Saddle Road and near the lava flow are closed and prohibited from access to the public. "Please stay in the designated areas to avoid hazards and further closures."
Aerial view of fissure 3 eruption lava channel on the Northeast Rift Zone of Mauna Loa on Sunday morning. Fissure 3 has produced several lava channels that are winding their way down the northeast slope of Mauna Loa, coalescing into a single flow front.  As of 7 a.m., Dec.  4, the flow front was about 2.3 mi (3.6 km) from the Daniel K. Inouye Highway, the Saddle Road.  USGS image by L. DeSmither 
VOLCANO WATCH RECAPS THE WEEK THAT MAUNA LOA ERUPTED. The weekly column by U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists and affiliates goes back to last Sunday:
    At 10:45 p.m. Sunday evening, Nov. 27, USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory  scientists were alerted to an earthquake swarm beneath Mauna Loa. Before an hour had gone by, lava had broken the surface within Moku‘āweoweo, the summit caldera, for the first time in 38 years.    For HVO and Island of Hawai‘i residents, this eruption did not come as a surprise. Increasing rates of earthquake activity and ground deformation on Mauna Loa began in late September, providing clues to the accumulating magma below the surface.
    HVO has been working with the County of Hawai‘i Civil Defense Agency to increase awareness of the potential for a Mauna Loa eruption through community meetings and other messaging. One important message at those meetings was that things could escalate very quickly, and they did.
   HVO staff and County of Hawai‘i officials closely monitored the eruption overnight, tracking activity for any migration. The eruption had begun in Mauna Loa’s summit, as expected, and the question on everyone’s mind was whether the eruption would move into a rift zone and if so, which one.

 This image, taken during an early morning overflight on Nov. 30, shows Fissure 3, the dominant source of eruptive activity on Mauna Loa's Northeast Rift Zone. USGS Photo
   Of the 33 Mauna Loa eruptions since 1843, all have started within Moku‘āweoweo. About half then migrated into one of the two rift zones or, rarely, a radial vent on the northwest flank. None of the eruptions have jumped from one rift zone to another.
    Mauna Loa followed the pattern of previous eruptions when a vent opened high on the Northeast Rift Zone the morning of November 28, with three more opening over the next day. Lava flows began to travel north and northeast on the remote northeast flank. The summit vents ceased erupting.
   The eruption has provided spectacular views from the Daniel K. Inouye Highway (Saddle Road) that bisects the Island of Hawai‘i; though it has also created heavy traffic in the area and is generating vog (volcanic air pollution) downwind.
  Initially, the lava was flowing on steep slopes; however, the main lava flow from fissure 3 reached flatter ground and slowed significantly. On flat ground, lava flows spread out and inflate. Individual lobes may advance quickly, and then stall. Additional breakouts may occur from the lava channels upslope.
    There are many variables at play and both the direction and timing of flow advance will change over periods of hours to days. HVO and HCCD are working together closely to monitor the activity and keep Island of Hawai‘i residents and visitors informed.

Aerial view of fissure 3 erupting on the Northeast Rift Zone of Mauna Loa the morning
 of Sunday, Dec. 4. USGS Image by L. DeSmither
   As of now, no homes or property have been directly impacted or are in imminent danger due to the lava flow. Nonetheless, it is still a good idea to practice “All Hazards” readiness. Information on putting together an “All Hazards” plan for you and your family is available at this HCCDA website: https://www.hawaiicounty.gov/departments/civil-defense/emergency-preparedness.
    For residents, visitors, and scientists alike, this eruption is an amazing opportunity to observe, document, and learn. HVO staff have been busy tracking the dynamic fissures and lava flows, deploying new instruments to monitor the eruption, and analyzing samples of the eruption.
    Erupted lavas have undergone a rapid analysis by HVO and our partners at the University of Hawai‘i Hilo. Preliminary comparison of new lava chemistry with other Mauna Loa eruptions shows that the new lavas are not leftover from the 1984 eruption but represent a new intrusion of magma into the summit and Northeast Rift Zone, consistent with geophysical signals leading to the eruption.
    What can we expect moving forward? Past Mauna Loa Northeast Rift Zone eruptions have typically lasted a few weeks; though, in one instance, a Northeast Rift Zone eruption continued for over a year. The main lava flow has slowed significantly and is currently in a flat portion of Humu‘ula Saddle region, making it difficult to estimate when or if the flow will impact Daniel K. Inouye Highway.
     HVO will release updates twice a day in the morning and afternoon until activity changes, these can be accessed at https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/mauna-loa/volcano-updates. Up-to-date images and maps are also available from HVO’s website at https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/mauna-loa/multimedia. HCCDA will also be issuing updates until further notice at https://hawaii-county-volcano-hazards-hawaiicountygis.hub.arcgis.com/. We encourage residents and visitors to get information about this eruption from these trusted sources.

KILAUEA AND SEISMIC UPDATE: Kīlauea is erupting. Its USGS Volcano Alert level is at WATCH. Kīlauea updates are issued daily.
    Over the past week, lava has continued to erupt from the western vent within Halemaʻumaʻu crater in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Sulfur dioxide emission rates remain elevated and were last measured at approximately 316 tonnes per day (t/d) on November 23. Seismicity is elevated but stable, with few earthquakes and ongoing volcanic tremor. Over the past week, summit tiltmeters recorded several deflation-inflation (DI) events. For more information on the current eruption of Kīlauea, see https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/recent-eruption.

The 2022 Mauna Loa Eruption webpage is online. Check out webcams, eruption viewing options, photographs, air quality, maps, and a Storymap. This page will be updated throughout the see https://go.nps.gov/2022ML. NPS Photo by Janice Wei

    There were 8 seismic events with 3 or more felt reports in the Hawaiian Islands during the past week: a M3.7 earthquake 3 km (2 mi) SSW of Pāhala at 35 km (22 mi) depth on Nov. 30 at 10:02 p.m. HST, a M2.6 earthquake 31 km (19 mi) W of Volcano at -3 km (-2 mi) depth on Nov. 29 at 5:07 a.m. HST, M2.6 earthquake 9 km (5 mi) E of Pāhala at 32 km (20 mi) depth on Nov. 29 at 3:42 a.m. HST, a M4.0 earthquake 9 km (5 mi) E of Pāhala at 31 km (19 mi) depth on Nov. 29 at 3:26 a.m. HST, a M3.5 earthquake 21 km (13 mi) W of Volcano at 0 km (0 mi) depth on Nov. 28 at 8:59 p.m. HST, a M3.5 earthquake 30 km (18 mi) E of Honaunau-Napoopoo at -3 km (-1 mi) depth on Nov. 27 at 11:51 p.m. HST, a M3.5 earthquake 27 km (16 mi) E of Honaunau-Napoopoo at -2 km (-1 mi) depth on Nov. 27 at 11:12 a.m. HST, and a M4.2 earthquake 27 km (16 mi) E of Honaunau-Napoopoo at -1 km (0 mi) depth on Nov. 27 at 10:56 p.m. HST.
    HVO continues to closely monitor the ongoing eruptions at Kīlauea and Mauna Loa.
See The Ka'u Calendar in the mail and in stands from Volcano
through Miloli'i. Also see stories daily on facebook and at