Lava, which erupted for the first time in nearly 40 years from Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano, “seems to be no longer active,” the U.S. Geological Survey said on Monday.
The eruption began on November 27 and drew viewers to the world’s largest active volcano to marvel at the shimmering lava fountains that occasionally rocket 200 feet into the air and threaten to cover a major highway on Hawaii’s Big Island.
Now, experts in the geological survey say that “only incandescent and lava movement is no longer visible” at the vent site on Monday morning.
“Channels below the vent appear to have flowed from lava and no longer feed the main flow front,” the USGS said in an update Monday. “Satellite images show all 2022 flow area cooling and are no longer active.”
According to the update, the lava stopped about 2.7 miles off the Daniel K. Inouye Highway, locally known as Saddle Road, which is the shortest road connecting the east and west sides of the Big Island.
“The inactive main stream front still glows at several spots at night and may move very slowly northward as it continues to settle,” the survey said on Monday.
In pictures: Mauna Loa volcano erupts in Hawaii
Eruption activity has been slowing for the past few days, and USGS experts said on Saturday that recent behavior indicates that eruptions will soon cease altogether.
The lava flow that threatened the highway over the weekend is no longer active, said David Phillips, assistant scientist in charge of the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.
“However, it was a very large flow, a large volume of lava standing there. It’s still very hot inside, it will take some time to cool down,” Phillips said.
The volcano observatory said in a statement over the weekend that in light of slowing activity, the volcano alert level was lowered from a warning to an hour.
“The significance of continued inflation with the flow field disabled is not yet clear; “It’s common for eruptions to increase and decrease or stop altogether, but none of the eight eruptions recorded from Mauna Loa’s Northeast Rift Zone have returned to high eruption rates after these rates dropped significantly,” said geological survey.
The last eruption of Mauna Loa was when its sister volcano, Kilauea, had also erupted since last year. However, Kilauea’s lava is confined to a small pond near the top and does not gush down the side.
The simultaneous activity of the volcanoes has created a rare dual eruption event on the Big Island that draws many visitors to Hawaii’s Volcanoes National Park.