Lava flow from most active fissure on Hawaii’s Kilauea slows dramatically

After three devastating months of volcanic activity, the most active lava flow on Hawaii’s Big Island has come to a near halt, according to the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Fissure 8, the largest and most active on the Kilauea volcano, has gone from a river of destruction to a dwindling stream. For the first time since the massive volcano erupted in May, little to no movement from the lava channel was registered over the weekend, the volcano observatory said.

But the coast isn’t clear yet. Officials warn that it is common for eruptions to wax and wane, so hazard warnings are still in effect.

“A return to high levels of lava discharge or new outbreaks in the area of active fissures could occur at any time,” the volcano observatory said.

From evacuations to fires and lava bombs, Kilauea has wreaked havoc on the island throughout the summer.

Kilauea’s eruptions prompted mass evacuations as lava spewed hundreds of feet into the air and spread into residential areas.

A report from the USGS in July said the lava from Fissure 8 was traveling at a rate of 100 cubic meters per second. More than 12 square miles had been covered with thick, black lava, which obliterated more than 700 homes.

The July report said, “If the ongoing eruption maintains its current style of activity at a high eruption rate, then it may take months to a year or two to wind down.”

But that doesn’t seem to be the case.

In a tweet, the USGS said the slowing certainly “paints a picture of a pause” but cautioned, “we’re not yet ready to say if it’s a full stop.”

Hawaii County will continue to monitor and schedule overflights to keep an eye on the volcano. Meanwhile, the island is preparing for Hurricane Hector, which is barreling towards Hawaii as a Category 4 storm.