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Mauna Loa Erupts for first time since 1984

Photo courtesy of the USGS

Mauna Loa, the largest active volcano on the planet, just erupted for the first time since 1984. Lava is currently flowing from parts of the summit crater and vents along the north eastern flank. There are massive fountains erupting reaching up to 200 feet into the sky.

The night sky in Kona is lit up by the volcanic activity of Mauna Loa. Photo courtesy of Joe Polito.

This volcanic activity is luckily far away from homes and neighborhoods on the big island. That being said, many Hawaii residents are still very concerned for personal well being as well as the air quality standards. Mauna Loa currently sending out sulfur dioxide and other volcanic gasses. This combination creates volcanic smog also known as “VOG” when they mix with oxygen and dust in the sun.

Photo courtesy of the USGS

Because of this, Hawaii health officials are encouraging residents and visitors alike to scale back on their outdoor exercise to avoid inhaling the VOG. Exposure to VOG can result in burning eyes, terrible headaches and sore throats. People with severe asthma or other respiratory illnesses like covid should exercise extreme caution in regards to exposing themselves to VOG.

There is also an advisory warning in effect for Maui because of the recent eruption of Mauna Loa on the big island. Today, the air quality was rated good on Maui.  But if the winds change and start blowing from the South West,, the department of health advises the following guidelines for residents and visitors. It might be time to get your N95 mask back out!

Below is a list of great resources to share with your family and your friends on the big island:

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