Lava flowing

“We don’t know where the flow is going, we don’t know how long it’s going to last.”

Resident of Big Island, Bobby Camara. The Mauna Loa volcano, located on Hawaii's Big Island, is the largest active volcano in the world and has begun erupting for the first time since 1984.

Published on

nov 29, 2022

Why It Matters: The Mauna Loa volcano – which makes up about 50% of Hawaii's Big Island – began erupting for the first time in nearly 40 years on Sunday night. Scientists expect the eruption to last about one or two weeks, based on historical patterns. Island residents have been told they do not need to worry about immediate danger as of now, while officials still urge residents to be prepared in case of potential evacuations and/or earthquakes. On Monday, the governor of Hawaii issued an emergency proclamation related to the eruption in order "to allow responders to respond quickly or limit access, if necessary, as the eruption continues.”

Interesting To Note: Mauna Loa means "long mountain" and is "significantly wider than it is tall," making it a shield volcano. It stands 13,600+ feet above sea level and rises about 30,000 feet from the ocean floor (National Park Service). The eruption began on the eve of La Kuokoa (AKA Hawaiian Independence Day); “To have it fall right on La Kuokoa, to me, this is the awakening, the surging, the rising of this awareness, of this beautiful holiday,” said Hawaiian educator, Laiana Kanoa-Wong.

Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano erupts for first time in 38 years (The Washington Post)

Erupting Hawaii volcano spurs warning for people to prepare (The Associated Press)

Lava is spilling toward a key Hawaiian highway, but the governor says it’s safe to visit the Big Island (CNN)

For current updates and photos: The USGS Volcanoes Twitter account

Sign up today to

Get SmartHER News In Your Inbox

Read our Privacy Policy