We knew it was only a matter of time before Madam Pele paid another visit to Hawaii’s Mauna Loa and at 11:30pm on Sunday, November 27, she made her presence known at last. At 13,681-feet volcano, Mauna Loa on the Big Island is the world’s largest active volcano. It’s erupting for the first time in almost 40 years and we’re the first to admit we’re pretty excited about this natural spectacle!
Beginning in Moku‘āweoweo, the summit caldera, Mauna Loa’s eruption migrated to the northeast rift zone on the morning of Monday, November 28th. What makes this particular eruption so amazing is that it’s occurring at the same time as Kīlauea’s ongoing eruption. Kīlauea is located about 21 miles east of Mauna Loa’s summit crater and since September 29, 2021, the volcano has been erupting continuously, with lava confined to the lake of Halema’uma’u, Kīlauea’s summit.
As for Mauna Loa, it’s erupted 33 times since 1843, with the last eruption recorded on March 25, 1984. The last time Kīlauea and Mauna Loa were erupting simultaneously, however, was on March 30, 1984! This rare dual eruption from both Kīlauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes is expected to draw a flow of visitors to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and to the island.
Safely Viewing the Glowing Lava
Neither the Kīlauea or Mauna Loa eruptions are threatening homes or infrastructure at this time. While lava flows in the summit region are visible from Volcano, Hilo, Waikoloa, and even Kona, the best place to view this incredible phenomenon is Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, which remains open following the new eruption. From the park’s viewing areas along Kīlauea caldera, you can see the gentle glow of a smaller lava lake within Halemaʻumaʻu at Kīlauea’s summit and a massive red glow from the Mauna Loa caldera.
For safety reasons, the park has closed Mauna Loa Road from the gate at Kīpukapuaulu to vehicles and Mauna Loa Observatory Road, outside of the park, to the public. For air quality, closure updates, safety alerts, links to the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory webcams, eruption updates, and other helpful information, visit Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park website: www.nps.gov/hawaiivolcanoes
Traveling to the Big Island During an Eruption
At this time, there are no evacuations and the lava is only flowing in the Big Island’s remote areas, where there is limited property and no population.
“We’re hoping that it will parallel with the 1984 eruption, and this lava flow, while it will be a big spectacular event, hopefully, it will have relatively little impact on residents and visitors to the island,” said Ken Hon, Hawaiʻi Volcano Observatory Scientist in Charge.
According to Hawai’i County Mayor Mitch Roth, the lava is “going to a positive place as far as keeping away from public and property.” And Gov. David Ige and The Hawaiʻi Visitors and Convention Bureau have both stated that there is no reason to make changes to your plans if you have an upcoming trip to the Big Island. Feel free to visit the Hawai‘i Visitors and Convention Bureau’s website for the latest updates on the situation and official tourism-related information regarding the eruption.
While flights to and from Kona’s Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport and Hilo International Airport are now operating normally, we do suggest that you check with your airline prior to heading to the airport to make sure that your flight isn’t delayed.
Plan Your Visit to Volcano
Planning a trip to the Big Island? When it comes to attractions and activities on the island, you can rest assured that it’s safe to stay in Volcano, Hawai’i and visit the park.
And you definitely don’t want to miss this opportunity to see both volcanoes erupting at once!
If you want to be awed by Madam Pele at work and stay near all that Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park has to offer, you really can’t get much closer than the Volcano Heritage Cottages. Located in the heart of Volcano Village, Hawai’i, our cottages are only five minutes from the park, so book your stay at Tutu’s Place or the Ola’a House today. The natural wonder of Hawai’i is waiting to take your breath away.