Officials: Lava Flow From Hawaii Volcano Quiet for One Month

Kilauea volcano Hawaii
Kilauea during its most recent eruption // Photo by M. Patrick/U.S. Geological Survey via AP/Newscred

It has been a month since the continuous flow of lava ceased from Kīlauea volcano on the island of Hawaii, the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) reports, and air quality island-wide is clean and clear. 

Air quality is rated as good in all communities throughout the island of Hawaii, according to daily reports monitored by the Hawaii State Department of Health. The U.S. Geological Survey and Hawaiian Volcano Observatory are also reporting that sulfur dioxide emissions at Kīlauea summit and in the Lower East Rift Zone in Puna, where lava flows were occurring, have been drastically reduced and are at their lowest combined level since 2007. The alert level for Kīlauea volcano was lowered from a warning to a watch level three weeks ago.

Kīlauea volcano's latest eruption began May 3, the HTA said, with lava flowing continuously until August 6. The affected area in lower Puna comprises less than one percent of the island of Hawaii, which measures 4,028 square miles and is larger than all of the other Hawaiian Islands combined. Other areas of the island of Hawaii were unaffected by lava flows.

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"After three months of continuous lava flows, we are cautiously hopeful this cessation in activity becomes permanent,” said George D. Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, in a written statement. 

Approximately 13.7 square miles of land in the lower Puna area have been covered by lava, with flows into the ocean having added an estimated 875 acres of new land to the island. More than 700 homes were destroyed and many businesses have suffered significant losses in revenue, primarily because many visitors have chosen to avoid the area, the HTA said.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the state's most popular visitor attraction, announced plans to reopen more parts of the park on September 22. Because of damage caused by the volcano activity, most of the park has been closed since early May, with only the Kahuku Unit remaining open to the public.

Kīlauea has been an active volcano since 1983. 

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