Mauna Loa Solar Observatory (MLSO)

Nov. 29, 2022: MAUNA LOA OBSERVATORY IS CURRENTLY CLOSED. It closed Monday, Nov 28 due to the volcanic eruption of Mauna Loa. Lava is flowing in the northeast rift zone which is on the side of the mountain where the Mauna Loa observatory is located (see photo). The site is not in any danger at this time but it is currently without power. Parts of the access road may have been damaged or destroyed. Operations may be down for a few weeks or more. We will post updates as we get them.

  • 12/2 morning: View of Mauna Loa lava flows from Mauna KeaFissure 4 is still active with lava flows moving toward the northeast. The small lobe that was moving to the east from fissure 4 has stalled. Volcanic gas plumes are lofting high and vertically into the atmosphere. Fissure 3 remains the largest lava flow traveling slowly toward the Daniel K. Inouye Highway (Saddle Road). USGS monitoring detects tremor (high rates of earthquakes) in the location of these fissures indicating magma is still being supplied. Activity is likely to continue as long as USGS see this signal.
  • 12/1: Helicopter view of the Mauna Loa lava flow over the access road.Helicopter view of the Mauna Loa lava flow over the access road.These images show the extent of the damage to the upper part of the Mauna Loa access road. Lava continues to head downslope to the Saddle Road and is spreading out as it reaches the flatter terrain. If flows continue they could damage the Mauna Loa access road near the Saddle Road, and very importantly, the Saddle Road itself (Images are courtesy:  Paradise Helicopter Tours, and Andrew Hara).
  • 12/1 morning: USGS webcam image from Dec 1 at 06:06 AM Hawaii time from Mauna Kea shows the lava flows continuing in the northeast rift zone on Mauna Loa flowing downslope toward the Saddle Road.USGS webcam image from Dec 1 at 06:06 AM Hawaii time from Mauna Kea shows the lava flows continuing in the northeast rift zone on Mauna Loa flowing downslope toward the Saddle Road. Latest USGS map showing lava flows. Note that 'NOAA Observatory' is same site as MLSO.Another lava flow (fissure 4) crossed the Mauna Loa access road. This flow also has a small lobe that is moving east from the main flow. The larger lava flow (fissure 3) continues to move downslope, slowing and spreading as it gets to flatter terrain. As of 7 AM Hawaii time it was 3.4 miles from the Saddle Road. Note in map that 'NOAA Observatory' is same site as MLSO.
  • 11/29 evening: USGS map showing lava flow across the access road. Note that 'NOAA Observatory' is same site as MLSO.USGS map showing lava flow across the access road. Note that 'NOAA Observatory' is same site as MLSO.
  • 11/29 morning: Image of lava flows from the morning of 11/29 annotated with path of Mauna Loa access road (yellow) to MLSO (red circle) and site of Hi-Seas Mars Habitat (green circle)Image of Mauna Loa from Mauna Kea showing lava flows, and annotated with path of Mauna Loa access road (yellow) to MLSO (red circle) and site of Hi-Seas Mars Habitat (green circle). See expanded description.
  • 11/29: The Mauna Loa site is currently without power. We are uncertain on the status of the access road.
  • 11/28 morning: Image of Mauna Loa from Mauna Kea showing the eruption sites and MLSO location (green circle)Image of Mauna Loa from Mauna Kea showing the eruption sites and MLSO location (green circle) at 9:00 AM local time (HST).

MLSO acquires unique observations of the Sun’s atmosphere in support of NCAR’s goals to address critical gaps in understanding the climate and Sun-Earth systems, and to provide research and observations to reduce damage and disruption from space weather hazards.

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