Weeks after Hawaii’s Mauna Loa erupted for the first time in decades, neighboring Kilauea volcano has returned to activity after a brief lull, officials said.
Kilauea ceased erupting last month for the first time since September 2021, officials said, as Mauna Loa’s own lava eruption and subsequent slowdown saw increased seismicity below its summit and in the Ground deformation was recorded Thursday morning.
“Kilauea is erupting,” the Hawaii Volcano Observatory and the U.S. Geological Survey said Thursday. The agencies said the glow was detected in nearby webcam images “indicating a renewed eruption within the Halemaʻumaʻu caldera of Kilauea’s summit caldera in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.”
Officials have raised Kilauea’s volcano alert level to “warning” and updated its aviation color code from orange to red, the agencies said.
A warning status and a code red are the highest levels of alert, indicating a dangerous eruption with large ash emissions.
The eruption occurred in an enclosed area of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
“Thus, high concentrations of volcanic gases are the primary hazard, as this hazard can have profound effects downwind,” according to a status report from the Hawaii Volcano Observatory. It also warned residents to avoid exposure to volcanic particles that could be carried some distance from the eruption.
The National Park Service issued an air quality alert on its website warning of possible unhealthy levels of volcanic pollutants. It includes graphs with periodic air quality readings, especially for those with pre-existing respiratory conditions.
Visitors to the national park may experience “slight danger”, the status report said.
“Visitors to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park should be aware that under southerly (non-trade) conditions, powdery to gritty ash consisting of volcanic glass and rock fragments may be emitted.”
The eruption is currently confined to the crater and “is not a threat to the community,” Hawaii Emergency Management Agency Say it on social media.
Kilauea’s eruption in 2018 was the most destructive in Hawaii’s recent history, forcing the evacuation of surrounding communities and destroying hundreds of homes.