Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano began erupting again Sunday after nearly three months of silence, with brilliant lava flows breaking within one of its craters.
According to the USGS, the eruption began around 3:15 p.m. local time in Halemaumau crater in Kilauea’s summit caldera at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. Klauea is the island’s youngest and most active volcano, with three summit eruptions since 2020.
Kīlauea volcano is erupting. At approximately 3:15 p.m. HST on September 10, 2023, the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory observed eruptive activity within Halemaʻumaʻu crater in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. For current info, photos, & video, visit https://t.co/zJwsn1nD0H pic.twitter.com/REhbFcxql0
— USGS Volcanoes🌋 (@USGSVolcanoes) September 11, 2023
The eruption was preceded by a period of strong seismicity and rapid uplift of the summit. Lava was seen gushing from fractures near the crater’s base in the video, although the activity was limited to the crater as of Sunday, 10, September, 2023.
“At this time, lava at Kilauea is confined to the summit and does not pose a lava threat to communities,” the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency said.
At this time, lava at Kilauea is confined to the summit and does not pose a lava threat to communities. However, eruptions emit volcanic particles and gases which may create breathing problems for people exposed. Follow guidance from @Volcanoes_NPS staff if you are in the area. pic.twitter.com/RzlnzVQvwM
— Hawaii EMA (@Hawaii_EMA) September 11, 2023
Kilauea’s volcano alert level has been raised to warning while authorities examine the hazards of the eruption. The opening phases of eruptions are dynamic.
The biggest worries with the volcano erupting are volcanic gas and fine strands of volcanic glass known as Pele’s hair that can float downwind.
Strong winds may waft lighter particles to greater distances, the USGS warned in a warning. Residents and visitors should limit their exposure to these volcanic particles, which can irritate skin and eyes.
Kilauea last erupted briefly in June, putting on a spectacular show with 200-foot-high lava fountain bursts, the eruption stopped on June 19.
Kilauea also erupted in January, after it had ceased erupting in December for the first time since September 2021, when lava was restricted to Kilauea’s summit crater.
However, a previous eruption in 2018 was one of the most destructive in recent Hawaiian history, destroying hundreds of homes and prompting the evacuation of nearby neighborhoods.
Since that 2018 activity, Kilauea has experienced nearly constant change, with distinct episodes of calm, unrest, eruptions, and everything in between.
The Kilauea eruption on Tuesday provided as “a solemn reminder of the sacredness ingrained in this landscape,” according to Hawai Volcanoes National Park on social media. “The privilege to witness the creative forces of a new eruption comes with a responsibility to approach this place with reverence”.
Kīlauea began erupting this afternoon, serving as a solemn reminder of the sacredness ingrained in this landscape. The privilege to witness the creative forces of a new eruption comes with a responsibility to approach this place with reverence. #KilaueaRespect #PiliUhane pic.twitter.com/Cd5EiH5evn
— Hawaii Volcanoes NPS (@Volcanoes_NPS) September 11, 2023
Eruptions have spiritual significance in native Hawaiian tradition, and Kilauea’s summit is sacred, thought to be the abode of Pele, the Hawaiian volcano deity.
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