About a week after Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Volcano began erupting for the first time in nearly 40 years, it continues to shoot lava into the air and advance lava flows downslope.
According to the USGS, the mesmerizing live stream is not only fascinating to watch but will help scientists continue to monitor the volcano in real-time.
The active fissure, or vent, is feeding lava down the slope toward Daniel K. Inouye Highway (Hawaii Route 500) and advancing about 40 feet per hour, according to the latest Hawaiian Volcano Observatory report.
Civil defense and transportation officials are closely monitoring the highway on the Big Island to see if it will need to be shut down due to the ongoing eruption. The highway sits in the boundary region that separates Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. It is the most significant infrastructure to be threatened, so far, by the eruption that started on Nov. 27.
The USGS said the views from fissure 3 would change depending on rain and clouds, possibly obscuring the visibility or making the video feed blurry. The camera looking west continues to stream back even in darkness, with the only light coming from the volcano’s hot lava.
It’s unclear how long the video of Mauna Loa will continue because the cameras cannot be repaired immediately due to the hazardous volcano.
Another USGS camera shows the view of Mauna Loa’s Northeast flank from Mauna Kea facing south.
Currently, officials say the volcano poses no threat to nearby communities on the Big Island.
Scientists don’t know precisely when Mauna Loa will stop erupting.
According to NOAA’s Global Monitoring Laboratory, Mauna Loa’s last eruption in 1984 lasted three weeks.