Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano ‘shut down’ after eruption in remote part of national park

that of Hawaii Kilauea Volcano erupted early Monday morning, but officials said the eruption on the state’s Big Island did not pose an immediate threat to human life or critical infrastructure.

The U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory warned after 2 a.m. HST of the risk of volcanic ash being ejected into the atmosphere, which can damage aircraft. About six hours later, just before 8:30 a.m., the observatory said the eruption posed less of a threat, with minor to no ash emissions.

The eruption occurred in a remote location in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and was “of low eruptive volume,” the observatory said. Gas emissions and rock fragments ejected from the volcano into the air, called tephra, were the main dangers of the eruption, the observatory said.

A few hours later, another observatory indicated that the eruption had “stopped”:

The USGS observatory said Monday’s activity was limited to the area around Kilauea’s summit and the southern part of its caldera, the term for large bowl-shaped depressions that form on volcanoes. According to the agency, the eruption began around 12:30 a.m. about 4 km southwest of the caldera.

A glow seen in webcam images indicated lava was coming out of cracks in the area, the observatory said. Later, early in the morning, the U.S. Geological Survey captured an aerial image of lava gushing from the fissures.

Eruptions release large quantities of volcanic gas, including sulfur dioxide. The gas reacts with the atmosphere to create volcanic smog, called vogwhich can cause aerial risks to human health and damage plants, according to the observatory.

An aerial image shows the Kilauea volcano erupting in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, June 3, 2024.

United States Geological Survey

The last eruption on Kilauea took place in September 2023 and lasted for a week, according to the US Geological Survey. There hasn’t been an eruption in the area of ​​Monday’s activity in nearly 50 years. The December 1974 eruption lasted about six hours, according to the observatory. It was not immediately possible for the agency to say how long Monday’s eruption would last.

The eruption was preceded by an increase in seismic activity at Kilauea’s summit on Sunday, an indication that magma was moving beneath the surface, according to the observatory.

In eight hours, there were about 250 earthquakes beneath Kilauea’s summit region, according to the observatory. The most powerful earthquake was magnitude 4.1 on Sunday evening.

The plume from the Kilauea volcano eruption is observed early in the morning of June 3, 2024.

US Geological Survey image by DA Phillips

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