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(CNN) — From a deep fracture in Mauna Loa’s dark terrain, the volcano’s magnificent eruption sends geyser-like fountains of lava spraying into the sky.

The fissure — cracked open on the northeastern slope of the world’s largest active volcano — feeds a searing flow of molten rock that cuts through the contours of Hawaii’s Big Island. Plumes of volcanic gas, including sulfur dioxide, rise into the air, and delicate strands of volcanic glass, called Pele’s hair, float downwind.

In the week since Mauna Loa erupted, the stream of lava has coursed northeast, away from the volcano’s summit. Once a quick-moving stream, the flow has slowed significantly as it reaches more softly sloping inclines.

Though no communities are at risk, the lava flow is inching closer to the Daniel K. Inouye Highway, a major artery that remains open, connecting two sides of this island, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. As of Sunday night, the stream was crawling forward at about 40 feet per hour, the agency said, and the unpredictable nature of eruptions makes it hard to say if or when it will reach the road.

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