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Mauna Loa summit backcountry closed after increased seismic activity

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Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park officials have closed the Mauna Loa summit backcountry because of increased seismic activity but say an eruption is not imminent.

HVNP today announced the closure of the summit backcountry until further notice. Mauna Loa Road and the Mauna Loa Lookout at around 6,700 feet elevation are still open to the public.

The announcement came after the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported that there have been 40-50 small earthquakes taking place in the area every day.

HVO said there were five to 10 earthquakes a day in June, and 10-20 earthquakes in July and August. More than 100 earthquakes were reported on Sept. 23 and last Thursday.

But, officials said, the closure is precautionary.

Mauna Loa is not erupting and there are no signs of an imminent eruption, HVO officials said.

There have been other periods of increased seismic activity since Mauna Loa last erupted in 1984, HVO said. The last time there was this much seismic activity was from January to March 2021, officials said.

USGS has characterized Mauna Loa’s current volcano alert level as “advisory” and aviation color level as “yellow.” Both indicate elevated signs of unrest and are one level removed from typical volcanic activity.

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