Hawaii's Mauna Loa erupts, raising the avaition color code

As of November 28 at 2:43AM, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory raised the volcano alert level and avaition code to WARNING/RED at the Mauna Loa volcano on the big island. This comes after nearly 40 years of dormancy, the longest period of quiet the volcano has seen in recorded history. Despite this eruption having just started, airlines such as Southwest have already cancelled numerous flights to/from Hilo.

As of now, the biggest threat to avaition from Mauna Loa is the ash clouds. These are dangerous when ingested by jet engines, and also cause low visibility. The lava is currently relegated to the craters on the volcano, but early this morning a large ash cloud drifted over the island. If the eruption grows, it has the potential to disrupt all Hawaiian flights and many other flights over the pacific.

Statement from HVO: "MAUNA LOA (VNUM #332020)
19°28’30" N 155°36’29" W, Summit Elevation 13681 ft (4170 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: WARNING
Current Aviation Color Code: RED

The eruption continues at the summit of Mauna Loa. All vents remain restricted to the summit area. However, lava flows in the summit region are visible from Kona. There is currently no indication of any migration of the eruption into a rift zone.

The Volcano Alert Level and Aviation Color Code for Mauna Loa remains at WARNING/RED.

HVO is continuing to monitor conditions carefully and will issue additional notices as needed."

This is a developing situation and is subject to change.

https://www.usgs.gov/volcanoes/mauna-loa

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Latest statement from HVO:

MAUNA LOA (VNUM #332020)
19°28’30” N 155°36’29" W, Summit Elevation 13681 ft (4170 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: WARNING
Current Aviation Color Code: RED

The eruption of Mauna Loa continues on the Northeast Rift Zone. Three fissures erupted and as of [1:30 PM](calendar:T1:1:30 PM), only the lowest of the three fissures was active. Estimates of the tallest fountain heights are between 100–200 ft (30 – 60 m), but most are a few yards (meters) tall. The fissures sent lava flows to the northeast and parallel to the rift zone. Lava flows from the two higher fissures moved downslope but stalled about 11 miles (18 km) from Saddle Road. Fissure 3 is currently feeding lava flows moving east parallel to the Northeast Rift Zone. These remain at above 10,000 feet elevation and over 10 miles (16 km) away from Saddle Road. We do not expect upper fissures to reactivate. However, additional fissures could open along the Northeast Rift Zone below the current location, and lava flows can continue to travel downslope.

There is no active lava within Moku’āweoweo caldera, and there is no lava erupting from the Southwest Rift Zone. We do not expect any eruptive activity outside the Northeast Rift Zone. No property is at risk currently. There is a visible gas plume from the erupting fissure fountains and lava flows, with the plume primarily being blown to the Northwest."

There continutes to be moderate risk to avaition from this eruption, but that may quickly change. The avaition code still remains at WARNING/RED, but may be lowered to WATCH/ORANGE if this eruption stays effusive

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