Eruption of Mauna Loa on Big Island May Well Disrupt the Island’s Tours
For the first time in 38 years, the Big Island’s largest volcano erupted at around 11.30 a.m. local time on Sunday November 27 and as of today, Friday December 2, the Mauna Loa volcano is still erupting. Lava flows threaten to reach the highway, also known as Saddle road which bisects the island, connecting the cities of Hilo and Kailua-Kona, in approximately two days’ time if the lava continues to encroach at its current rate. The current direction of the lava flow is over a rift zone on the north-east flank of the volcano, much to the relief of those living in South Kona, which was in line with the original lava flow before it migrated.
Thousands flock to get a closer view of the eruption of Mauna Loa
Thousands of islanders as well as vacationers have been flocking along Highway 200 in order to get a closer view of Mother Nature at her most spectacular, though unlike the eruption of Kilauea in 2018, the lava flow is not currently threatening any of the island’s communities. The air surrounding is thick with the stench of sulfur and volcanic gases, while the road leading to the Mauna Loa Observatory, the world’s premier station that measures heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, has been breached and power disconnected, so is currently not operational.
All you can do with an erupting volcano is watch and wait
Aside from the spectacular itself, one of the most remarkable things about the eruption of Mauna Loa and the subsequent lava flow is that there is absolutely nothing that can be done to interfere with the course of Mother Nature. All local residents can do is simply watch from a safe distance and hope that the lava flow does not change course yet again. Aside from the sheer force of the lava flow, it is nigh on impossible to get anywhere near it as the surface temperature can still reach up to 1,000 degrees Celsius, while the temperature of lava tubes is nearer 1,250 degrees Celsius.
Some facts and figures relating to Mauna Loa
Mauna Loa is actually the world’s largest volcano with a span of 75 miles (120 kilometers), reaching a height of 13,796ft (4205 meters) above sea level, and as one of five volcanoes that make up Hawaii’s Big Island. Mauna Loa covers half of it! What is even more remarkable about the volcano is that from its base, which is many miles below sea level, it’s overall height is 5.6 miles… It is this that makes it the world’s largest volcano, not the height above sea level. The world’s highest volcano above sea level is Nevados Ojos del Salado, which towers nearly 23,000 feet over Chile and Argentina.
It’s still safe to come to Big Island for your vacation
If you are coming to Big Island for a vacation in the near future it is still very safe to come, and if you have any excursions or trips planned or booked, here at LeaLea Tours we strongly recommend that you check with whoever you have booked with (as one of Hawaii’s largest activity agents it may well be us!) to get an update on what is still operational.
If you are planning to come to any of Hawaii’s beautiful islands, at Lea Lea Tours we are always keen to ‘cherry pick’ the very best of tours available. To find out more about any of our recommended tours, please feel free to get in touch with us at any time.