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Maunaloa Eruption Summary, Day 8: Flow Front Slows, Upslope Channel Branches

3:58 AM · Dec 6, 2022

After a full week of Maunaloa's eruption, the lava remains focused at the Fissure 3 vent, source of the 10.3 mile (16.7 km) long lava flow currently slowly approaching the DKI Highway/Saddle Road. Advancing 0.1 miles closer over the past day, the forward advance rate over the past 24 hours is 20 ft or 6 m per hour, but the flow is also spreading laterally. The spatter cone around the active fissure continues to build, now 95 ft or 29 m high, with the fountains sustained at 141 ft or 43 m and experiencing bursts of over 232 ft or 71 m in height. Large "lava boats" up to 16 ft or 5 m across are rafting in the area of the braided channel high on the Northeast flank of the mountain, and periodically accumulating to block the lava channel and create overflows. This morning a large blockage and overflow appeared to create a new branch from the western channel braid, but if it follows the steepest topography it would project to rejoin the main channel downslope. As the upper channels become less efficient at delivering lava to the long flow front, the decrease in the frontal speed would be expected to continue. Without further changes, there is little threat to people or property, though the potential closure of the cross-island highway would have significant impacts on transportation travel times. We review the most important imagery including the USGS live feed, monitoring signals, reports, and earthquakes, annotating and discussing live viewer questions as usual.

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