The world’s largest active volcano, Mauna Loa, located in Hawaii, spewed lava jets up to 60 meters high, the US Geological Survey (USGS) reported on Tuesday (29). Three fissures opened in the volcano, which erupted on Sunday for the first time in nearly 40 years.
Clouds of smoke emerged from the geological structure that occupies half of the Big Island, as the largest island in the Hawaiian archipelago is known. “There is a visible gas cloud coming out of the sources [do vulcão] and lava flows in erupting fissures,” the institution said.
Officials say that, at least for now, residents and properties closest to the volcano are not at risk. “The rivers of lava from the two highest fissures move downhill but are stopped about 10 kilometers from Saddle Road [a principal rodovia ao norte da montanha]🇧🇷
The lava that comes out of the third fissure, at about 3,000 meters of altitude, was also far from the highway. Experts, however, warned that Mauna Loa is a dynamic volcano and reinforced the need for constant monitoring. “Other fissures could open up, and the rivers of lava continue downhill.”
Mauna Loa had been building up pressure for years, and Sunday’s eruption was visible from Kona, a region on the west coast of the archipelago’s main island, about 72 kilometers away, according to the USGS.
While the lava still poses no threat to the population, experts warn that winds could drag volcanic gases, ash and basaltic glass fibers, material formed after lava cools rapidly in the air, and which can be sharp, with a potential risk of injury, downhill. in the eyes and on the skin.
As of Tuesday night, however, Hawaii authorities had not issued any evacuation orders, although they had closed the area around the summit and several roads in the region. Two shelters were also opened as a precaution.
Mauna Loa, whose name means “big mountain”, is the largest volcano on the planet by volume. The geological structure covers half of the Big Island and is larger than the other Hawaiian islands combined.
The volcano’s undersea flanks extend for several kilometers to the ocean floor, which in turn is depressed by the enormous mass of Mauna Loa, which makes the summit 17 kilometers above the base, according to the USGS. .
One of six active volcanoes on the Hawaiian Islands, Mauna Loa has erupted 33 times since 1843, according to US government data. The most recent, in 1984, lasted 22 days and produced lava flows that reached seven kilometers from Hilo, a city where 44,000 people currently live.
Kilauea, a volcano located on the southeast flank of the Mauna Loa erupted almost continuously from 1983 to 2019, and a small eruption has been ongoing there for several months.