Does Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcanic eruption pose any hazards?

Does Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcanic eruption pose any hazards? Let's understand here.
Mauna Loa erruptions
Mauna Loa erruptions

Hawaii’s Mauna Loa is seen these days with lava shooting at least 100 feet to 200 feet into the air. Being the globe’s largest active volcano, it witnesses eruptions for the very first time in around 40 years. 


As of now, the lava seems to be harmless as it is not causing any threats to communities and homes. In such a situation, no evacuation orders have been issued.


Lava, however, could reach neighborhoods as it flowed downhill. The good news is that it could take more than a week for molten rock to reach such areas.


The Mauna Loa is releasing sulfur dioxide along with other volcanic gases. These gases create volcanic smog, or vog, as they get mixed with oxygen, water vapor, or dust particles in the sunlight. This leads to many health hazards. Health officials have been worried about such hazards and thus have urged folks to avoid outdoor exercises.


The last time such Mauna Loa volcanic eruptions took place was in 1984.


The possible health hazards to take care of:


Volcanic gas: Volcanic gases are an obvious resultant of such volcanic eruptions. The Mauna Loa is releasing sulfur dioxide and other. These gases can be found in their greatest concentrations in the immediate area surrounding the summit crater or vents. Not only this, but the gases also combine with many other particles, which results in the creation of vog. This vog can be spread across the Big Island. 


Vog can lead to itchy and burning eyes, followed by sore throats and headaches. Moreover, it can turn out to be problematic for asthma patients and people with respiratory issues.


Glass particles: “Pele’s hair” and “Pele’s tears” are the glass particles that are created when hot lava erupts from a fissure and cools down rapidly.


These glass particles do not tend to travel far away from the volcanic vents. While this fact makes these glass particles appear harmless, they can still pose a threat to the surrounding areas.

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