Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano erupts as lava fountains form in park

30 September 2021, 09:54

Hawaii Volcano Eruption
Hawaii Volcano Eruption. Picture: PA

Webcam footage of the crater showed lava fountains covering the floor of the crater.

One of the most active volcanos on Earth is erupting on Hawaii’s Big Island.

Officials with the US Geological Survey (USGS) confirmed that an eruption has begun in Kilauea volcano’s Halemaumau crater at the volcano’s summit.

Webcam footage of the crater showed lava fountains covering the floor of the crater and billowing clouds of volcanic gas were rising into the air. The same area has been home to a large lava lake at various times throughout the volcano’s eruptive past.

The eruption is not in an area with homes and is entirely contained within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

“All signs indicate that it will stay within the crater,” said Ken Hon, the USGS scientist in charge of Hawaii Volcano Observatory.

“We’re not seeing any indications that lava is moving into the lower part of the east rift zone where people live. Currently all the activity is within the park.”

Hawaii Volcano Eruption
Webcam footage shows a view of an eruption that has begun in the Halemaumau crater at the summit of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano (USGS via AP)

The volcano’s alert level has been raised to “warning” and the aviation code changed to red.

Earlier, officials said increased earthquake activity and ground swelling had been detected, and at that time raised the alert levels accordingly.

Kilauea had a major eruption in 2018 that destroyed more than 700 homes and displaced thousands of residents. Before that eruption, the volcano had been slowly erupting for decades, but mostly not in densely populated residential areas.

Before the major 2018 eruption, Kilauea had been erupting since 1983 and streams of lava occasionally covered rural farms and homes. During that time, the lava sometimes reached the ocean, causing dramatic interactions with the water.

Over four months in 2018, Kilauea spewed enough lava to fill 320,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools, burying an area more than half the size of Manhattan in up to 80 feet of now-hardened lava. The molten rock reduced landmarks, streets and neighbourhoods to a vast field of blackened boulders and volcanic shard.

After the 2018 eruption the summit lava lake stopped erupting and for the first time in recorded history began to fill with water, raising concerns about the possibility of an explosive interaction between lava and groundwater.

Hawaii Volcano Eruption
A view of an eruption that has begun in the Halemaumau crater at the summit of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano (USGS via AP)

The same area of the volcano that began erupting on Wednesday also erupted in December and lasted until May.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park spokesperson Jessica Ferracane told The Associated Press that she had not yet arrived at the park, but that colleagues reported seeing some lava spatter and glow within the summit crater.

“He saw that from Volcano House, which is at least two miles away from the eruption site, so I suspect … we’ll be able to see a pretty glow, and who knows what else,” she said.

The Volcano House is a hotel and restaurant within the national park adjacent to the visitor centre. The park is open to visitors.

Hawaii Volcano Eruption
Billowing clouds of volcanic gas were seen rising into the air (USGS via AP)

Ms Ferracane said the area that is erupting is not close to where people can hike or drive. Trails downwind from the eruption have been closed for years.

“The park is open and there are no road closures at this time,” Ms Ferracane said.

Ms Ferracane added that officials are expected tens of thousands of visitors to flock into the park and that people need to be very careful both in terms of natural hazards and Covid-19.

“This eruption is going to draw many people to the park, we’re already seeing people come into the park, drive in after dark tonight,” Ms Ferracane said. “Really need people to remember that we are in the middle of a pandemic and they need to stay safe and to keep us safe, too.”

She said people must maintain six feet of distance and wear masks.

“If you’re sick, please don’t come. Come visit another day. Enjoy the views from the webcam,” she said. “We really want to not have these current eruption conditions increase the spread of Covid.”

By Press Association

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

EasyJet cancelled a flight to Marrakesh on Wednesday

Morocco bans UK flights due to rising Covid cases

Putin will not attend the UK-hosted COP26

Putin snubs COP26: Russian president won’t attend Glasgow climate summit

Sadiq Khan was one of the first leaders in the world to declare a climate emergency

Climate change: Sadiq Khan to be named new chair of C40 cities at COP26

George W Bush pictured with Colin Powell in 2002

Bush and Blair lead tributes to Colin Powell after death aged 84

Earthshot 2021

Revealed: List of winners awarded £1million by Duke of Cambridge for Earthshot Prize 2021

Millionaire Robert Durst is believed to have killed three people.

Millionaire murderer on ventilator with Covid days after sentencing

Former PM Gordon Brown wants to send over a billion vaccines to low-income countries

Gordon Brown calls for emergency vaccine airlift to poorer nations

The US has "no idea" how the Chinese managed to make such progress on hypersonic missiles

China fires hypersonic missile around globe before striking target

A British Airways plane takes off as the resumption of UK – US flights was confirmed

UK – US flights to resume from 8 November after 19-month ban

Officers arrested the suspect after 30 minutes

Norway bow and arrow attack 'appears to be act of terror' as five killed

Police in Florida arrested the man on Tuesday

Man arrested after toddler found gun and shot mother dead during work Zoom call

Police officers cordon off the scene in Kongsberg

Five people killed after man goes on bow and arrow rampage in Norwegian town

Billy Hood has been jailed for 25 years

London football coach jailed for 25 years in Dubai over cannabis oil found in car

Blue Origin Launch.

Lift off! William Shatner soars into orbit on Blue Origin rocket

William Shatner take part in New Shepard spacecraft crew

Watch: William Shatner blasts off into space

Pen Farthing had staff and animals from his charity Nowzad evacuated from Afghanistan

Pen Farthing talks of 'total relief' as charity staff are flown into UK