Hawaii volcano, world’s largest, erupts for first time in decades

Mauna Loa on the Big Island in the archipelago began to erupt Sunday night, putting emergency teams on alert.

Hawaii’s Mauna Loa, the world’s largest active volcano, has erupted for the first time in nearly four decades, sending volcanic ash and debris falling nearby, authorities say.

Lava flows remained contained within the summit caldera of Mauna Loa on the US island state, but the eruption could pose a threat to nearby residents if conditions change, the US Geological Survey reported. at 11:45 pm on Sunday (09:45 GMT on Monday). ), about 15 minutes after the eruption in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

“At this time, the lava flows are contained within the summit area and do not threaten hillside communities,” the Geological Survey said on its website, noting that locals on the Big Island of Hawaii should review preparation procedures.

While the eruption on the main island of the Pacific state remains confined within the basin at the top of the volcano, “if eruptive vents migrate outside its walls, lava flows can move rapidly downslope,” according to the Service. Geological.

Hours later, on Monday morning, the survey’s volcano monitoring office tweeted: “Lava appears to have flowed out of the caldera, but for now the eruptive vents remain confined to the caldera.”

“However, lava flows in the summit region are visible from Kona,” the Hawaii Volcano Observatory said in a statement. “There is currently no indication of any migration of the eruption to a rupture zone.”

A rift zone is where the mountain splits. The rock is cracked and relatively weak, making it easier for magma to emerge.

It is impossible to predict how long the volcano will erupt and whether it could cause lava to flow into populated areas, said Miel Corbett, a spokeswoman for the Geological Survey.

“But I can tell you that we are in constant communication right now with the Hawaiian Civil Defense and they are providing updates to members of the community,” he said.

The Geological Survey said the Hawaii Volcano Observatory was in consultation with emergency management personnel and that its staff would conduct an aerial reconnaissance over the 13,674-foot (4,168-meter) volcano as soon as possible.

Hawaii authorities said no evacuation orders have been issued, though the summit area and several roads in the region have been closed.

A Geological Survey webcam on the northern rim of Mauna Loa’s summit showed long, bright eruptive fissures within the crater.

Parts of the Big Island were under an ashfall advisory issued by the National Weather Service in Honolulu, which said up to a quarter-inch of ash could accumulate in some areas.

The Hawaiian Islands are home to six active volcanoes. Mauna Loa, the largest on Earth, has erupted 33 times since 1843, according to the Geological Survey.

The most recent eruption, in 1984, lasted 22 days and produced lava flows that reached as far as four miles (7 kilometers) from Hilo, a city with a current population of 44,000.

Last month, scientists said Mauna Loa was in “a state of great unrest” after a series of earthquakes were felt in the area.

Mauna Loa is the much larger neighbor to the Kilauea volcano, which erupted in 2018, destroying 700 homes. Some of Mauna Loa’s slopes are much steeper than Kilauea’s, so when it erupts its lava can flow much faster.

During a 1950 eruption, lava from the mountain traveled 15 miles (24 kilometers) into the ocean in less than three hours.

The effects of the Mauna Loa volcano eruption on the island of Hawaii are shown in this March 25, 1984 photo provided by the US Geological Survey. [File: US Geological Survey/Handout via Reuters]

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Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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