What We Know: Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano erupts for first time since 1984

The world’s largest volcano, Mauna Loa, which is in Hawaii Volcanos National Park, has erupted for the first time since 1984.

“Lava flows are not threatening any downslope communities,” the U.S. Geological Survey said on Monday, according to NBC News. They added that although the danger is currently minimal, “the location and advance of lava flows can change rapidly.”

Mauna Loa erupted at 11:30 p.m. local time on Sunday after a series of earthquakes. The USGS had previously warned of “heightened unrest” at the volcano months prior.

NBC reported that the eruption began at the Moku‘āweoweo summit and spread to the Northeast Rift Zone.

Officials say that 5,000 people living in the subdivisions south of the volcano are at the highest risk. So far, no evacuations have been announced.

Officials hope to keep schools and campuses open, with Hawaii Island Complex Area Superintendents saying in a joint statement:

“Based on the latest updates, we are cautiously optimistic but continue to monitor conditions closely and follow the guidance and direction from Hawaii County Civil Defense.

As with all emergencies, the health and safety of our students and staff is our top priority. Our goal is to be able to keep schools open as long as we can do so safely, and avoid having to abruptly close school during the school day. We will be reviewing conditions on a daily basis, looking at a variety of factors such as air quality, transportation, and the direction of the lava flow. In the event that school operations are impacted, families will be notified and updated through official school channels.

All Hawai‘i Island schools are updating their contingency plans to account for this type of emergency, should a school need to transition to a different mode of instruction for an extended period of time. Transition plans will be communicated to school communities as needed.

Mahalo to our staff and school communities for their support and dedication.”



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