Hawai'i Volcano Blog

Mauna Loa Eruption Day 13: Lava pond replaces fountains at fissure 3

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This story was updated on Dec. 10 at 3 p.m.

This Hawaiian Volcano Observatory has reduced the Mauna Loa Volcano alert level from Warning to Watch and reports that fissure 3 continues to erupt with greatly reduced output of lava and gas emissions. Short outbreaks of lava continue above the 10,000 foot elevation and are no risk to any communities at this time.

A Volcanic Alert Level, Watch means an eruption is underway but with limited hazards.

High eruption rates will not resume based on past eruptive behavior and current behavior suggests that the eruption may end soon. However, an inflationary trend of Mauna Loa’s summit is accompanying the decreased activity and there is a small possibility that the eruption could continue at very low eruptive rates, according to HVO.


The Daniel K. Inouye Highway remains open in both directions.

The reduced level of activity is resulting in a minimal to no red lava viewing. The public is reminded that all areas adjacent to the highway, Old Saddle Road and near the lava flow are closed and prohibited from access to the public.

Original post: While the Mauna Loa eruption continues, officials with the U.S. Geological Survey say fissure 3 has significantly reduced lava and gas emission output.


During a press conference this morning, David Phillips, with the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, said the lava channels from fissure 3 are mostly drained at this point and the flows are pretty stagnant.

There appears to be a lava pond in fissure 3 but not the fountaining observed over the past few days were lava reached over 100 feet in height.

Phillips reiterated the lava flow that was threatening Daniel K. Inouye Highway is not active, however, it’s a large volume of lava in that area and it will take time to cool.


“From its own momentum it [lava] will continue to spread out,” he said.

Additionally, Phillips said there is less seismicity which means lava isn’t moving as much as it has been.

“A return to higher level discharge is possible, but not likely,” Phillips said, adding USGS will continue to monitor the flow.

Talmadge Magno with Hawai‘i County Civil Defense said the county’s emergency operation center will stay operational at least through the weekend. Areas surrounding the flow will remain closed and the mitigation route will remain open.

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