The Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island erupted after peak hours, according to officials with the US Geological Survey (USGS). The alert level has been raised to the highest level, but there is no immediate threat to populated areas.
The eruption began around 3:20 p.m. Wednesday when the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) detected a glow while looking at webcam images from the summit of the volcano. The lava became visible shortly thereafter and the eruption appeared to intensify around 7 p.m.
The eruption takes place within the Halemaʻumaʻu crater in the Kilauea summit caldera, which is part of the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, according to a USGS advisory, which raised the volcano’s alert level to the highest level.
“Webcam images show fissures at the base of Halema’uma’u crater generating lava flows on the surface of the lava lake that was active until May 2021,” the advisory said. He added that the initial activity was limited to the Halemaʻumaʻu crater.
At approximately 4:43 pm, another fissure opened in the west wall of Halemaʻumaʻu crater and tephra fell downwind from the erupting vents. Large amounts of volcanic gas were also visible, mainly water vapor (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), and sulfur dioxide (SO2).
“The US Geological Survey’s Hawaii Volcano Observatory (HVO) is raising the Kilauea volcano’s alert level from WATCH to WARNING and its aviation color code from ORANGE to RED as this new eruption is assessed. and the associated dangers, ”the ad said.
The Hawaii Red Cross said it is monitoring the eruption. “At this time there is no threat to the populated areas of the island of Hawai’i. We will be monitoring the event as it progresses, ”the organization said in a statement.
The USGS said that increased seismic activity and changes in ground deformation patterns began around noon Wednesday, and the volcano’s alert level was raised from warning to observation at 3:09 p.m., minutes before for the eruption to begin.
Hundreds of homes were destroyed and 24 people were injured when the Kilauea volcano erupted in May 2018. A smaller eruption began in December 2020 and continued through May this year. Minor activity was reported in late August but ceased a few days later.