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Mount Kilauea Erupts in Hawaii

National

Mount Kīlauea recently started erupting again. | Image by Brent Keane/Pexels.

Mount Kīlauea in Hawaii has begun erupting from its summit crater.

This eruption comes just weeks after the volcano’s largest neighbor, Mauna Loa, erupted for the first time in nearly 40 years, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

The youngest volcano on the island of Hawaii, Mount Kīlauea is also the most active, having continuously erupted from 1983 to 2018, covering nearly 90% of its surface in lava.

In 2018, Kīlauea experienced the largest lower East Rift Zone eruption and summit collapse in at least 200 years. The eruption marked the largest lower East Rift Zone eruption and summit collapse in at least two centuries, per the United States Geological Survey (USGS). A later eruption from December 2020 to May 2021 contributed to a lava lake in the Halema‘uma‘u crater at the summit of Kīlauea. This is also the location of an ongoing eruption that began in September 2021.

Mount Kīlauea began erupting from the Halema‘uma‘u crater at 4:30 p.m. local time on January 5. This eruption prompted the agency to bring its alert level to red at the time; it has since been lowered to orange.

The agency also reported that multiple smaller lava fountains are active around the volcano. The largest lava fountain was observed to be about 32 feet high. At around 7:45 p.m., fountain bursts as high as 98 feet were recorded, and several reached up to 164 feet high early in the eruption, per Fox Weather.

“It was a beautiful eruption, and lots of people got to see it, and it didn’t take out any major infrastructure and most importantly, it didn’t affect anybody’s life,” said Ken Hon, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory’s scientist in charge, according to NPR.

The USGS reported that the eruption at the  summit is occurring within a closed area of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park and is not expected to pose a danger to residents.

High levels of volcanic gas are the primary hazard of concern. These gases are expected to react in the atmosphere and create volcanic smog, which could present health hazards to residents and visitors, as well as to crops and livestock.

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