As of the morning of November 29, lava from the eruption of the Mauna Loa volcano on Hawaii's Big Island has been confirmed to have crossed the access road to NOAA's Mauna Loa Observatory and taken out power lines to the site. These circumstances have resulted in a pause in data being collected at the observatory.
All NOAA staff from the Mauna Loa Observatory are safe.
At this point the facility is not accessible.
NOAA will continue to provide updates as the situation develops.
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According to Hawaiian Legend, Pele, the fiery goddess of the volcanoes in Hawaii, would send her white dog as a messenger to alert the people when an eruption was imminent. A white dog was first noticed by the observatory staff during the latter part of 1959 about 1/2 km below the observatory. At that time, the staff lived at the site for up to a week on rotating shifts. Because of this housekeeping, a rubbish dump soon developed to the west of the observatory. The contention of the staff was that a stray dog had discovered the dump and foraged there for food. Attempts to befriend or capture this mysterious dog, no matter how persistent, failed. The dog for some reason would have nothing to do with the observatory staff. In December 1959, Kilauea Iki erupted and the dog disappeared. The dog reappeared at the observatory several months later and again was spotted periodically for a month or so and then disappeared again. This pattern of appearances and disappearances continued until 1966. Since then, no one has seen this mysterious white dog.