World’s most active volcano erupts after 3-month pause


Kilauea, one of the most active volcanoes in the world, erupted after a three-month pause on Wednesday. The volcano spewed fountains of glowing lava- at a safe distance from people and structures- in a national park on Hawaii’s Big Island.
A glow was detected in webcam images from Kilauea’s summit early on Wednesday, indicating an eruption event within the Halemaumau crater in the summit caldera, the US Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said. The images show fissures at the base of the crater generating lava flows on the crater floor’s surface, the observatory said.
Before issuing the eruption notice, the observatory said increased earthquake activity and changes in the patterns of ground deformation at the summit began Tuesday night, indicating the movement of magma in the subsurface. “There’s no reason to expect this to transition into a rift eruption that would threaten any communities here on the island with lava flows or anything like that.” All activity was within a closed area of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. “The lava this morning is all confined within … the summit caldera. So plenty of room for it still to produce more without threatening any homes or infrastructure,” park spokesperson Jessica Ferracane said. Park officials are bracing for crowds to arrive as the eruption is visible from many overlooks.
Residents of Pahala, 30 kilometres downwind of Kilauea’s summit, reported a very light dusting of gritty fine ash and “Pele’s hair”- glass particles that form when lava erupts from a fissure and rapidly cools- named for the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes, the observatory said. Several eyewitnesses and residents of nearby towns were jolted awake by two small earthquakes early on Wednesday. Witnesses also reported seeing “at least” 15 fountains, which died down by mid-morning. According to the observatory, fountain heights decreased from 13 feet to 30 feet but red bursts could be seen on the USGS livestream throughout the afternoon.