Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island erupted on Sunday night, placing the island on a red alert on Monday. The eruption was followed by an earthquake that struck at the volcano’s south flank.
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said the situation is “rapidly evolving”, though it is still unclear what damage has occurred so far. The red alert advisory warns residents that an eruption is imminent with the likely emission of significant volcanic ash into the atmosphere.
Video from W rim of the caldera just before midnight. As of December 21 at 1:30 a.m. HST, the growing lava lake has almost reached the level of the lowest down-dropped block that formed during the 2018 collapse events. Over the past 2 hours, the lake has risen by ~10 m (32 ft). pic.twitter.com/Qbx1d6hbq4— USGS Volcanoes🌋 (@USGSVolcanoes) December 21, 2020
The eruption began late Sunday within the Halemaumau crater, at the summit of Kilauea. The HVO said it detected a glow within the crater at about 9:30 pm local time. A magnitude 4.4 earthquake was recorded at about 10:30 pm. AT least seven other earthquakes ranging from 2.5 to 2.7 magnitude have occurred hours after.
Residents in the area are now urged to stay indoors as steam clouded the sky and ash fell.
“Trade winds will push any embedded ash toward the Southwest. Fallout is likely in the Kau District in Wood Valley, Pahala, Naalehu and Ocean View. Stay indoors,” a tweet from COH said.
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports an eruption at the Halemaumau Crater of the Kilauea Volcano. Trade winds will push any embedded ash toward the Southwest. Fallout is likely in the Kau District in Wood Valley, Pahala, Naalehu and Ocean View. Stay indoors to avoid Exposu— COH Civil Defense (@CivilDefenseHI) December 21, 2020
The current activity of the volcano is its most recent since summer of 2018, when a series of earthquakes and explosive eruptions over several months forced evacuations.
Kilauea is the world’s most active volcano.
Weeks before Sunday’s eruption, signs had been bubbling inside the Kilauea volcano. Earlier in December, earthquakes began signaling increased activity under the summit’s surface. Last week, new magma was detected.
While erupting volcanoes are widely considered tragic and hazardous for most, Hawaii’s active volcano brings glow to the eyes of tourists. One of the main attractions in the Big Island is tourists’ fascination to its five volcanoes.
Hawaii National Park has already issued safe ways to view the new eruption in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The press release, however, reiterated that the eruption can be hazardous and situation may change at any time.
The park remains open 24 hours a day, but curious tourists should stay on marked trails and avoid earth cracks and cliff edges.
“We want to keep the park open for all to experience this new phase of volcanic activity, and we need visitors to follow safety guidelines that keep everyone safe. We continue to work with USGS scientists to receive the latest volcanic updates, and remind visitors that the eruptive activity and accessibility could change at any time,” said Rhonda Loh, the national park’s superintendent.