Kilauea, One Of The World’s Most Active Volcanoes, Erupts In Hawaii

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Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, started erupting early Monday in a remote region that hadn’t seen an eruption in fifty years, according to the US Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

The eruption is occurring about 1 mile (1.6 km) south of the Kilauea caldera, within an area of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park that last erupted in December 1974. The vicinity around the caldera has been closed to the public since 2008 due to various hazards, including ground cracking, instability in the crater wall, and rockfalls.

“Glow is visible in webcam imagery, indicating that lava is currently erupting from fissures,” the USGS observatory said. The eruption in 1974 only lasted about six hours. The observatory said it was not yet possible to tell how long this eruption will last.

“The eruption is currently ongoing but is taking place in a remote location within the national park, is low in eruptive volume and does not pose an immediate threat to human life or critical infrastructure,” the observatory said.

Civil defense officials said: “Some areas may experience elevated gases, take precautions if you are sensitive to volcanic gases.”

Mitch Roth, the mayor of Big Island, stated that residents are used to eruptions occurring within the park. “People just need to realize this is in one of the safest places it could have happened,” he mentioned. “Absolutely no property is in danger.”

The primary hazard during Kilauea eruptions is typically volcanic gas, which reacts with the atmosphere to create volcanic smog, or “vog.” According to the observatory, the vog can harm plants, have an adverse effect on livestock, and be hazardous to the health of locals and tourists.

“The only that thing I’m a little worried about right now is air quality,” Roth said. He said communities of Oceanview and Naalehu may experience some air-quality issues.

Kilauea last erupted in September, following an eruption in June 2023 that lasted several weeks. The June eruption was notable, showcasing fountains of lava but not endangering communities or structures. Sightseers flocked to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to safely view the lava.

In the hours leading up to the eruption, the observatory recorded approximately 250 earthquakes beneath the Kilauea summit. The observatory stated it would provide daily updates on the eruption, as well as any significant changes in volcanic activity.

Kilauea, Hawaii’s second-largest volcano, had an eruption from September 2021 until last December. A 2018 eruption of Kilauea destroyed more than 700 homes.