Another eruption has been detected at the Kīlauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island, with the situation prompting the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to elevate its volcanic alert level from “watch” to “warning.”
This marks the third eruption of the Kīlauea volcano this year, following previous eruptions in January and June. Kīlauea means “much spreading” in Hawaiian.
The volcanic eruption was observed at around 3.15 p.m. local time on Sept. 10. The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) said it began within the Halemaʻumaʻu crater and “on the down dropped block to the east in Kīlauea’s summit caldera,” which is within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
According to the USGS, the eruption was preceded by “a period of strong seismicity” and “rapid uplift of the summit.” The eruption activity is confined entirely within the park, which is away from any residential areas.
The USGS said that it raised the volcano alert level from “watch” to “warning,” and also changed its aviation color code from “orange” to “red”—which means that a major volcanic eruption is either imminent or suspected with hazardous activity both on the ground and in the air.
“The activity is confined to Halemaʻumaʻu, and the hazards will be reassessed as the eruption progresses,” the USGS stated, adding that HVO is in constant communication with the national park with regard to the situation.
Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency (EMA) said the eruption does not pose a lava threat to nearby communities but that volcanic particles and fumes could potentially cause breathing problems.
Kīlauea, Hawaii’s second largest volcano, erupted from September 2021 until last December. For about two weeks in December, Hawaii’s biggest volcano, Mauna Loa, also was erupting on Hawaii’s Big Island.
After a short pause, Kīlauea began erupting again in January. That eruption lasted for 61 days, ending in March. The volcano erupted for a second time in June, displaying fountains of glowing red lava without threatening any communities, and lasted within two weeks.