Hawaii volcano: Drivers are warned of lava inching toward key highway



CNN

Days after rare double volcanic eruptions in Hawaii, authorities are urging people not to park vehicles along a key highway as lava flows nearby.

Kilauea, located inside Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, has been active for more than a year — and nearby Mauna Loa erupted on Sunday.

Hawaii officials said the simultaneous eruptions of Mauna Loa and Kilauea on the Big Island did not threaten nearby homes or infrastructure.

But as of Tuesday, lava from Mauna Loa had flowed about 4.5 miles from Saddle Road, the main highway through the center of the Big Island, according to the US Geological Survey.

In response, Hawaii County Civil Defense is urging drivers not to park along Saddle Road. “HPD will issue citations and tow vehicles parked between mile markers 16-31,” the agency said in a Facebook post.

This week marked the first time in nearly 40 years that the two volcanoes – about 21 miles apart – erupted together. The rare sight became even more spectacular on Tuesday when two new lava flows were seen flowing over Mauna Loa, according to the geological agency.

This aerial photo was taken Monday during an overflight of the Northeast Rift Zone eruption of Mauna Loa Volcano in Hawaii.

National park officials say the twin eruption will attract many visitors looking to catch a glimpse of the glowing rock.

And while there is no known immediate risk to property, air quality could be affected by hazards such as vog or volcanic smog, state officials have warned. Volcanic gas, fine ash and Pele’s hair (threads of volcanic glass) could be carried downwind, the geological survey said.

The Hawaii Health Department has warned residents and visitors to be prepared for compromised air quality, including “vog conditions, ash in the air and levels of sulfur dioxide to increase and fluctuate in various regions of the state”.

Children, the elderly, and people with respiratory problems should reduce outdoor activities that cause difficult breathing and reduce exposure by staying indoors and closing windows and doors if vog conditions develop. are developing, the health department said.

Hawaii Governor David Ige signed an emergency proclamation on Tuesday to direct resources and help respond to Mauna Loa’s eruption. The state National Guard is also on standby and the state Emergency Management Agency has activated its emergency operations center, said Maj. Gen. Ken Hara, adjutant general for the Department of Defense of state at a press conference.

HAWAII - JUNE 6: Lava flows into the ocean from Kilauea Volcano at Volcanoes National Park near Volcano, Hawaii on June 6, 2004. Lava from Kilauea reached the ocean for the first time in nearly a year .  (Photo by Marco Garcia/Getty Images)

Watch: CNN flies over America’s most active volcanoes

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Mauna Loa’s eruption earlier this week was significant beyond the rarity and thrill of witnessing the dual eruptions. For Native Hawaiians, eruption sites have cultural significance. “Although an eruption is a thrilling experience, keep in mind that you are observing a sacred event. Kīlauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes are wahi kapu (sacred landscapes) surrounded by historic sites,” the national park’s website states. .

Standing 13,681 feet above sea level, Mauna Loa — the world’s tallest active volcano — erupted fountains of lava as high as 200 feet on Monday, according to the geological survey. The eruption was concentrated in Mauna Loa’s northeast rift zone, where lava flowed from at least one split in the volcano, the geological survey said.

“Based on past events, the early stages of an eruption in the Mauna Loa fault zone can be very dynamic, and the location and advancement of lava flows can change rapidly,” the commission said. geology earlier this week.

The eruption and lava flow also knocked out electricity and hindered access to a vital climate tool used to maintain the so-called “Keeling Curve”, which is the authoritative measure of atmospheric carbon dioxide and vital scientific evidence of the climate crisis. The Keeling Curve graph includes daily carbon dioxide concentration measurements taken at Mauna Loa since 1958.

” It’s a big problem. It’s the central file in today’s understanding of the climate problem,” said Ralph Keeling, a geoscientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego and son of the Keeling Curve creator.

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