Scientists have lowered the alert level for the Mauna Loa volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island from a warning to a watch, and said the mountain’s first eruption in nearly 40 years may soon end.
The US Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said in a bulletin that the eruption on the mountain’s north-east rift zone is continuing, but lava output and volcanic gas emissions are “greatly reduced”.
“However, an inflationary trend of Mauna Loa’s summit is accompanying the decreased activity and there is a small possibility that the eruption could continue at very low eruptive rates.”
Scientists said earlier this week that the road is no longer under imminent threat from the lava, allaying previous fears that it could be cut off.
The observatory said its scientists are continuing to monitor the volcano closely, and flight restrictions remain in place in the area up to 1,500ft (457m) above ground level.