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Mauna Loa eruption showing signs of settling down

<i>USGS/KITV</i><br/>According to USGS
According to USGS

By Jefferson Tyler

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    HAWAII COUNTY, Hawaii (KITV) — Things have started to calm down. As the Mauna Loa eruption continues, there’s been some changes over the last 48 hours.

The USGS says lava fountains went from 200 feet to 100 feet from Wednesday night to Thursday night, and those numbers progressed even further on Friday.

“Lava fountain height started to dwindle and by this morning they were down to 30 feet, and they get smaller as we go on. Correspondingly, the amount of lava coming down the channel has also decreased,” said Dr. Ken Hon from the USGS.

According to USGS, the flows are moving much slower now. “All the volcanic activity we will see for this eruption will be on the northeast rift zone. So people that live in south areas don’t have to worry about any fissures opening up. Another fissure opening up on the northeast rift zone if it were to do it, would do it at an elevation lower than the current fissure. It’s become highly unlikely that will happen,” said Dr. Hon.

“Right now it’s not threatening any populated areas so we’re safe,” said Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth.

There’s no longer lava feeding into the pool near the highway and much of the lava has been drained. There’s only been small movement toward the military training area of the island. Officials say smoke, has been minimal. Gasses have decreased from 100,000 tons a day — to now less than 30,000 tons. The USGS says if the changes continue to progress, it can see the volcano going in one of two directions.

“Mauna Loa has had a few eruptions like this in the past that they lasted a little over a year or maybe lasted for just a few months to over a year. That’s one possibility. The other possibility that is equally probable, is the eruption winding down and turning off,” said Dr. Hon.

With the lower levels of lava right now, visitors might not be able to see the night-time spectacle Mauna Loa’s been showing over the past week.

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