World’s Largest Active Volcano May Erupt, Hawaiian Officials Warn

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The Department of Defense released a public statement on Oct 27 that the world’s largest active volcano, Mauna Loa, located in Honolulu, Hawaii, is sending signals that it may erupt.


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Hawai’i Emergency Management Agency says they are monitoring the volcano for signs of an increasing threat due to Mauna Loa’s continuing seismic activity that is causing concerns for some of the residents who live on the island.

Both the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency (HCDA) and the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA) said they have increased their monitoring efforts on the volcano.

The United States Geologic Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) also added that they have been issuing daily reports on Mauna Loa’s activity since September but said its scientists have seen no indications of an immediate threat.

The Department of Defense wrote on its website, “Mauna Loa continues to be in a state of heightened unrest,” Ken Hon, chief scientist at HVO, said in the observatory’s most recent report on the active volcano. However, Hon noted, “the current increase in activity does not suggest that a progression to an eruption is certain.”

HCDA has been posting daily updates on Facebook of Mauna Loa’s activity that is based on data from HVO. The posts show the current alert level, status, and a recap of activity over the previous 24 hours.

“Under current conditions an eruption from Mauna Loa is not imminent,” Talmadge Magno, Hawai‘i County civil defense administrator said, according to the Department of Defense. “We’re reminding people to take this opportunity to register for county emergency alert messages and prepare or review their plans to be ready for any disaster.”

Both Magno and Hon spoke with Hawai‘i island residents on Saturday (Oct 29) at the Ocean View community center to talk about the latest readings and preparedness measures.

At the meeting, they said because Mauna Loa covers 51% of the island’s area, it’s hard to predict which areas might be affected if an eruption was to occur.

However, Magno did say that if lava was to break out of the summit area, the county would provide specific information on any necessary safety or evacuation measures to routes and shelters.

“HI-EMA continues to support our partners on Hawai‘i island with outreach and planning assistance as Mauna Loa’s activity evolves,” agency Administrator Luke Meyers said, according to the Department of Defense. “We encourage residents who are concerned about the seismic activity beneath the mountain to explore the ways they can improve their preparedness, including updating their emergency plans, reviewing their evacuation routes near where they live, work, and play, and checking the batteries in their emergency supplies.”

For those living in Hawai’i county, HI-EMA’s website includes links to sign up for emergency alerts.

Other sources of information that provide updates and important details on the ongoing situation are Hawaii County Volcano Hazards and FEMA.

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