– In Hawaii, one of the main roads threatened by the volcano of Mauna Loa
One of the main roads on the island of Hawaii is threatened by lava from the Mauna Loa volcano. Its closure will force residents to take a long detour.
Lava from Mauna Loa, the world’s largest active volcano, which erupted on November 27 after 38 years of dormancy, is now approaching one of Hawaii’s main roads, according to the American Institute of Geophysics (USGS).
The “lava front” of one of the volcano’s lava flows is now “about 3.2 miles (5.2 km) from Daniel Inoue Highway,” nicknamed “Saddle Road,” the USGS explained in its latest bulletin issued Thursday evening. It is the main axis for traversing Hawaii, the largest island of this Pacific archipelago, from east to west. Its closure will force residents to take a long detour.
Lava on Mauna Loa — Hawaii’s “Long Mountain” — has slowed in recent days as it faces less steep slopes and the largest flow was advancing at “40 meters per hour” on Thursday afternoon, the agency said.
At this rate, it could hit the road “as soon as a week,” according to the USGS, though it recalls that “many variables” could affect this forecast and the volatility of the eruption. It is on the northeast side of the volcano and officials, who have not issued an evacuation order, confirm that residences are not at risk.
On CNN on Wednesday, Hawaii Governor David Ike warned residents and tourists about “toxic fumes” coming from the volcano. He encouraged people with breathing problems to “wear a mask.”
Wind can carry pele hair, volcanic glass fibers named after the Hawaiian fire goddess, which form when volcanic droplets stretch into fine fibers under the action of the wind. As sharp as razor blades, they are dangerous to skin and eyes.
Mauna Loa, which covers half of Hawaii, has not erupted since 1984. It then spewed lava for 22 days, only seven kilometers from the town of Hilo, located northeast of the volcano.
With a height of 4169 meters, it is one of six active volcanoes in the Hawaiian archipelago and has experienced 33 eruptions since 1843. The main island of the archipelago is also home to Mauna Kea, a volcano that stands at 4207 meters above sea level.
Southeast of Mauna Loa, the Kilauea volcano has enjoyed the longest period of activity, erupting almost non-stop between 1983 and 2019. Its latest, smaller one, has been going on for months.