Part of Mauna Loa used for hiking closed due to seismic activity

High seismic activity on Mauna Loa, a mountain in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, led park officials this week to close the backcountry portion of the mountaintop.

Mauna Loa’s summit backcountry is generally open for hiking but is now closed until further notice. Other parts of the mountain remain open to the public.

“Mauna Loa Road and Mauna Loa Lookout at 6,662 feet remain open to the public,” the National Park Service said.

Scientists from the US Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) said the mountain is not erupting; the seismic activity in question is an increase in earthquakes over the past few months.

Seismic activity on Mauna Loa has increased from five daily events to 10 in June, to 10-20 per day in July and August, to 40-50 in the past two weeks.

“Peaks of more than 100 earthquakes per day occurred on September 23 and 29,” the HVO situation report said.

The mountain last erupted in 1984, but it did not cause any fatalities.

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