Mauna Loa Erupts for the First Time in almost 40 years

Isabella Hewitt, Contents Editor

Hawaii’s Mauna Loa, the largest active volcano in the world, has erupted for the first time since 1984. 

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the eruption started around 11:30 p.m. local time Sunday (4:30 a.m. Monday EST) in Mokuaweoweo, the summit caldera of Mauna Loa. 

Hawaii County officials said that no evacuation orders had been issued by late Monday morning, but shelters were opened as a precaution. Authorities advised that winds could carry volcanic gas and fine ash downwind, although there is no major risk.

While the eruption was initially confined to the volcano’s summit, USGS notified Twitter that lava had also begun to flow out of the northeast side of the volcano, in what scientists refer to as its northeast rift zone.

An ash fall advisory was in effect through 10:00 a.m. local time on Monday (3:00 p.m. EST) for the Big Island and across the Maui Channel to the southeastern shores of Maui.

The National Weather Service in Honolulu — about 190 miles to the northwest of Mauna Loa — said as much as a quarter of an inch of ash could accumulate across the Big Island, potentially leading to respiratory distress for some people, damaging engines and electronics and harming crops and livestock.

When Mauna Loa last erupted at 1:25 a.m. on March 25, 1984, it caused minimal damage, with no resident injury, minimal roadblocks and the cutting of power lines.