See the Mauna Loa volcano lava flow and track the air quality in Hawaii



CNN

The lava spewing from the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii continues to flow.

The leading edge remains at about 7,000 feet in elevation, creeping down the mountain at less than a mile per hour.

But the magma has subsided significantly and so far poses little threat to local residents, according to Hawaii’s emergency management. While the lava has already crossed Observatory Road, it could take a week to reach the narrow Daniel K. Inouye Highway about three miles away, depending on how the lava reacts to the flatter terrain below.

The volcano erupted on Sunday, sending lava to the northeast. Most of the island’s development is scattered around the coast, so the lava is not currently a threat to people or infrastructure.

The US Geological Survey, which monitors the eruption, said in its latest update that the agency is still detecting tremor signals in the volcano’s active fissures. “This indicates that magma is still being supplied, and activity is likely to continue as long as we see this signal.”

The eruption occurred on the Big Island, officially known as Hawaii, the largest of the archipelago. It consists of five volcanoes – four of which are active.

The residents are used to outbreaks. The latest is one of more than 130 eruptions in which lava flowed from fissures in the mountain since the 1830s, according to data released by the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency.

The volcano last erupted in 1984. According to the data, the site has been relatively consistent, erupting 71 times during the 19th century and 68 times during the 20th century.

The historical lava flows have varied in size and direction, depending on the event, over the years:

Although the latest eruption has not threatened the island’s infrastructure, it has raised concerns about air quality both for local residents and those living downwind across the Pacific.

So far, air quality on the island has remained good, according to the Hawaii Department of Health. Although the department said residents and visitors can expect “humidity conditions, ash in the air and levels of sulfur dioxide to increase and fluctuate in different areas of the state.”

Monitor air quality on the map of Hawaii below, updated every three hours.

While local experts monitor the island’s air quality, scientists are keeping an eye on the wider atmosphere after the eruption spewed a large plume of sulfur dioxide visible from Earth-orbiting satellites.

Note: Volcanic plume progression: Nov. 30-Dec. 5. Darker colors represent a higher Dobson unit, a measure of the densities of sulfur dioxide; Source: Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service.

The plume is expected to flow over North America over the weekend and into the Atlantic Ocean. That could result in some hazy skies, said Mark Parrington, a senior scientist at the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, but it’s not likely to reach ground level in the continental United States.

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