Kilauea, one of the most active volcanoes in the world, has resumed its eruptive activity after a two-month hiatus, captivating both scientists and locals on Hawaii's Big Island. The eruption, which began on Sunday afternoon, initially displayed glowing lava that posed no immediate threat to people or structures as it remained confined to the summit of Kilauea within the boundaries of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
The Hawaii Volcano Observatory closely monitored the eruption, noting that gases released during the eruption could result in the formation of volcanic smog, or "vog," downwind of the volcano. Concerns were raised about the potential health impacts of the volcanic particles and gases on communities residing near the park. The observatory advised residents to take precautions and avoid exposure to the particles and gases, emphasizing that while the lava did not pose a direct threat, the emissions could still cause breathing problems.
Hawaii's Emergency Management Agency echoed these concerns, cautioning the public about the release of volcanic particles and gases and urging individuals to stay alert and heed any warnings or advisories issued. They emphasized that, for the time being, the lava flow was contained within the summit of Kilauea, alleviating concerns of an immediate threat to nearby communities. However, they stressed the importance of remaining vigilant due to the potential hazards associated with volcanic eruptions.
In response to the eruption, the volcano's alert level was raised to warning status, indicating an increased potential for hazardous activity. Moreover, the aviation color code was elevated to red, signifying significant volcanic ash emissions that could pose a danger to aircraft. Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) were dispatched to evaluate the eruption and its associated risks, closely monitoring the seismicity and uplift of the summit.
This recent eruption follows previous eruptive episodes earlier this year, in January and June, which also garnered attention from locals and tourists alike. During those periods, Kilauea put on a spectacular display of fountains of red lava, captivating crowds at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. However, unlike past eruptions that resulted in the destruction of hundreds of homes in 2019, this current eruption does not pose an immediate threat to communities or structures.
As the world continues to marvel at the awe-inspiring power of Kilauea, scientists and emergency agencies remain dedicated to closely monitoring the volcano's activity, ensuring the safety and well-being of those in its vicinity. The ongoing eruption serves as a reminder of the volatile nature of the Earth's geological processes and the need for constant vigilance in areas prone to volcanic activity.