Amidst all Hawaii’s natural beauty, it’s easy to forget there’s also an element of danger. The active Kilauea volcano that sits on Hawaii’s Big Island erupted on Sunday around 9:30 PM for about an hour and was followed by a 4.4-magnitude earthquake.
View from the western rim of Kīlauea Caldera. Lava is erupting from a fissure in the NW wall of Halemaʻumaʻu crater and cascading into the deepest part of the crater, which had been occupied by a water lake (now replaced with a growing lava lake). pic.twitter.com/VKIFA1Npr0
— USGS Volcanoes🌋 (@USGSVolcanoes) December 21, 2020
The eruption was caused by new lava flow that interacted with a pool of water inside the Halema’uma’u crater. Water evaporated out of the lake, and a steam cloud rose to 30,000 feet.
By 1 AM on Sunday night/Monday morning, lava fountains were shooting about 165 feet into the sky and feeding a now-growing lava lake within the crater.
The eruption wasn’t nearly as dramatic or devastating as the one that happened in 2018 and lasted for months, but the National Weather Service in Honolulu is still issuing an advisory warning of fallen ash exposure. People should stay indoors to shelter from the volcanic ashes. Currently no damage to buildings has been recorded.
The situation is still ongoing, with updates to be provided as necessary. According to David Phillips, a spokesperson for the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, which is monitoring the situation, “We will send out further notifications on Kilauea and other Hawaiian volcanoes as we observe changes.”
You can observe the current eruption thanks to a live webcam on the Hawai’i Volcanoes National park website.