Volcano Watch: Recent events at Mauna Loa remind us to be prepared for quick changes
By Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Special to West Hawaii Today | Sunday, October 9, 2022, 12:05 a.m.
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Glow from a Mauna Loa lava flow lit up the night sky above Hilo on April 4, 1984. In this photo, captured from near the Hilo airport, the flow front appears closer to the city than it actually was. Should a similar eruption occur in the future, the U.S. Geological Survey’s lava flow inundation maps could help alleviate concern for residents outside the identified inundation zone for a given flow. (Photo courtesy of DAVID LITTLE via HVO/Special to West Hawaii Today)
An HVO scientist (center) observes 65-foo high lava fountains erupted from Mauna Loa on March 25, 1984. (Hawaiian Volcano Observatory/Special to West Hawaii Today)
Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Mauna Loa monitoring data showing increased ground deformation rates (top) and earthquake rates (bottom) from August 8 through October 5, 2022. The distance (line length) between GPS stations MOKP and MLES (blue circles) lengthened by about 2 cm (less than 1 inch), indicating that Mauna Loa is expanding as more magma accumulates beneath the surface. Tiltmeter measurements (green line) also show increased ground motions (the daily oscillations in tilt are due to local heating and cooling cycles). There were less than 20 earthquakes per day (blue bars) from early August through mid-September. The rate increased to about 40-50 earthquakes per day over the past two weeks, with peaks of over 100 earthquakes per day on September 23rd and 29th. (USGS graphic)