Natural Disasters

Scientists Say Eruption Of Hawaii Volcano Continues To Ease

The inactive front of the lava flow may inch northward very slowly as it continues to settle, officials said.

Scientists Say Eruption Of Hawaii Volcano Continues To Ease
U.S. Geological Survey via AP
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The eruption of the Mauna Loa volcano on Hawaii's Big Island continues to ease, scientists said Sunday, reinforcing an earlier pronouncement that the mountain's first flare-up in nearly 40 years might soon end.

"We have good news to report," Ken Hon, the scientist in charge of the U.S. Geological Survey at the Hawaii Volcano Observatory, said during a briefing. "The eruption is still at an extremely low level at this point."

Hon said the eruption is contained entirely within the volcano's cinder cone. The USGS said a small amount of light remained visible at night through a vent in the cone, but the channels below that vent "appear drained of lava."

Mauna Loa Lava No Longer Imminent Threat To Hawaii Highway
Mauna Loa Lava No Longer Imminent Threat To Hawaii Highway

Mauna Loa Lava No Longer Imminent Threat To Hawaii Highway

Mauna Loa was still erupting Thursday morning, but the lava that was feeding the flow heading toward the crucial road has been cut off.

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The inactive front of the lava flow may inch northward very slowly as it continues to settle, the agency said.

Hon said Mauna Loa's eruption appears to be ramping down and that nearby Kilauea has now reached a "full pause," with its lava lake stagnant and crusted over.

Mauna Loa began spewing molten rock Nov. 27 after being quiet for 38 years. The incandescent spectacle drew onlookers and set some nerves on edge among people who've lived through past eruptions.

Sunday's update came a day after scientists lowered the alert level for the volcano from a warning to a watch and said the eruption could be in its final days.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.