HILO, Hawaii (AP) — The first eruption in 38 years long hillThe world’s largest active volcano attracts visitors Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is open 24 hours a day.
“The view is spectacular,” especially at night and before sunrise, said park spokeswoman Jessica Ferracane.
Visitors to the park can currently see two eruptions: the glow from Kilauea’s lava lake and lava from the Mauna Loa fissure.
“It’s a rare time when two eruptions are happening at the same time,” Ferraghan said.
Mauna Loa last erupted in 1984. The current eruption is its 34th since recorded history began in 1843. Its smaller neighbor, Kilauea, has been erupting since September 2021.
Officials were initially concerned that lava flowing from Mauna Loa would make its way toward the South Kona community, but scientists later assured the public that it had migrated to a fissure zone on the northeast side of the volcano and did not threaten communities.
The lava was “not that fast” at 1 mph, Ken Hahn, scientist-in-charge of the Hawaii Volcano Observatory, said Tuesday. It was moving about 6 miles (10 kilometers) downstream from Saddle Road, which connects the east and west sides of Hawaii’s Big Island.
At 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) off the road, speed is likely to drop when hitting flat ground.
It is not clear when the lava will reach the road. It may hit the flat land on Tuesday or late Wednesday, said Hon.
The smell of volcanic gases and sulfur was thick on Saddle Road on Tuesday, where people got a close-up look at the vast flow of lava. The clouds cleared to reveal a great gas and ash billowing from a vent in the mountain.
Governor David Ige issued an emergency declaration to allow responders to arrive quickly or restrict access as needed.
Lava crossed the Mauna Loa Observatory access road Monday night, knocking out power to the facility, the Hon. It may move toward the county seat of Hilo, but that could take a week or more.
Meanwhile, scientists are trying to measure the gas released from the eruption.
“Now is the beginning of this explosion,” Hahn said.
Kelleher reported from Honolulu. Audrey McAvoy contributed in Honolulu.
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