HAWAII – The Volcano Observatory on Hawaii’s Big Island has issued a volcano advisory. The alert, previously at the normal level, has been upgraded to an advisory due to “signs of unrest” in the volcano.
The US Geological Survey (USGS) explained that this does not mean an eruption is expected. What it does mean is that the seismic stations at the Hawaii Volcano Observatory (HVO) are recording elevated “small magnitude earthquakes” underneath the summit. This is something that has been occurring to a lesser degree over the past year.
HVO scientists said that this increased activity could last for months or years and not lead to an eruption. It could also mean an imminent eruption of Mauna Loa, but it is too soon to tell. What spurred the alert level being changed to yellow – at the advisory level – is that there is a recharge in the volcano’s shallow magma storage system, so the volcano is being monitored to track this change in unrest.
Mauna Loa’s last eruption was on March 25, 1984 and last a little over 3 weeks. Before this eruption, there was increased earthquake activity for 3 years. From 2004 to 2005, there was also increased activity, but no eruption occurred, and the status of Mauna Loa went back to green – normal.