This week (October), Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park stated that the Mauna Loa Summit backcountry would be closed until further notice due to increased seismic activity.
Covering half of the Island of Hawaiʻi, Mauna Loa is considered the largest active volcano on the planet, according to the US Geological Survey.
Since early summer, according to the Hawaii Volcano Observatory, the volcano has been experiencing increased activity.
According to the USGS, the frequency of earthquakes has increased from five to ten per day since June 2022 to roughly ten to twenty per day in July and August.
It reached 40 to 50 earthquakes a day over the past two weeks. Peak numbers of more than 100 earthquakes a day were recorded on September 23 and September 29, the USGS said.
No signs of eruption
The park posted a picture of the volcano on its Twitter account this week and said the summit area was being “closed to hiking as a precautionary measure.”
“Mauna Loa is not erupting, and there are no signs of an imminent eruption at this time,” the U.S. Geological Survey said in a news release.
“However, Mauna Loa continues to be in a state of heightened unrest as indicated by increased earthquake activity and inflation of the summit.”
The USGS said the current unrest is “most likely being driven by renewed input of magma” 2 miles to 5 miles beneath volcano’s summit
“The current increase in activity does not suggest that a progression to an eruption is certain, and there are no indications that an eruption is imminent,” USGS said.
“Eruptions tend to produce voluminous, fast-moving lava flows that can impact communities on the east and west sides of the Island,” the USGS said.
Since its first well-documented eruption in 1843, the volcano has erupted 33 times, with the last eruption taking place in 1984.
There are two national parks in the state: Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park and Haleakalā National Park, which is on the island of Maui. The National Park Service also has seven other sites in the state, including the Pearl Harbor National Memorial.