HVO: Lava spewing from Mauna Loa is not left over from 1984 eruption

Your top local headlines for Friday, Dec. 2, 2022.
Published: Dec. 2, 2022 at 6:46 AM HST|Updated: Dec. 2, 2022 at 8:04 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Since Mauna Loa began erupting Sunday night, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists and their partners at the University of Hawaii at Hilo have been studying lava samples.

USGS said preliminary comparison of new lava chemistry with other historical Mauna Loa eruptions shows that the new lava spewing from the volcano is not left over from the 1984 eruption.

Scientists said the lava instead represents a new intrusion of magma into the summit and northeast rift zone.

Lava rock from Mauna Loa eruption
Lava rock from Mauna Loa eruption(USGS VOLCANOES)

Field crews reported on Thursday that lava flows remain crystal free near the vents and full of small crystals at the flow fronts.

The average eruption temperature calculated from these collected magnesium oxide contents is 1156 degrees Celsius (2113 degrees Fahrenheit), scientists said.

HVO and UH said continued chemical analyses in the lab will help them understand how the eruption is evolving.

Staff have been busy tracking the dynamic fissures and lava flows, deploying new instruments to monitor the eruption and analyzing samples of the eruption.

Meanwhile, experts said past Mauna Loa northeast rift zone eruptions have typically lasted a few weeks. However, in one instance, a northeast rift zone eruption continued for over a year.

The main lava flow has slowed significantly and is currently in a flat portion of Humuula Saddle region. USGS said this makes it “difficult to estimate when or if the flow will impact Daniel K. Inouye Highway.”