World’s largest active volcano, Hawaii’s Mauna Loa, erupts for 1st time in decades
Hawaii’s Mauna Loa, the world’s largest active volcano, has started to erupt for the first time in nearly four decades, prompting volcanic ash and debris to fall nearby, authorities say.
The eruption began late Sunday night in the summit caldera of the volcano on the Big Island, the US Geological Survey says. Early today, it says lava flows were contained within the summit area and weren’t threatening nearby communities.
“However, lava flows in the summit region are visible from Kona. There is currently no indication of any migration of the eruption into a rift zone,” the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory says in a statement. A rift zone is where the mountain is splitting apart, the rock is cracked and relatively weak and it’s easier for magma to emerge.
How long the volcano erupts and whether it could cause lava to flow to populated areas of the island is impossible to predict, says Miel Corbett, a USGS spokesperson.
“But I can tell you, we’re in constant communication right now with Hawaii Civil Defense, and they’re providing updates to community members,” she said.
Even though it noted there is no indication of lava exiting the summit, the civil defense agency said it has opened shelters in Kailua-Kona and Pahala because it has reports of of people self-evacuating along the South Kona coast.
“Multiple images have surfaced on social media indicating lava activity outside of the caldera. At this time, no lava migration into a rift zone has been confirmed,” according to a statement.
These photographs were taken by Ken Hon, Scientist in Charge of HVO from Waikoloa at about 1:27am. #MaunaLoa #MaunaLoaErupts
Lava is still erupting from the summit & is overflowing from the caldera. No threats to populated areas currently. https://t.co/yLBkg85jMa pic.twitter.com/vhScY3WGjR
— USGS Volcanoes???? (@USGSVolcanoes) November 28, 2022