Hawaii’s largest island, Mauna Loa, has started to erupt, leading authorities to change the alert status from “advisory” to “warning.”
According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the eruption started late on Sunday night in the Big Island volcano’s summit caldera.
According to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) “From Kona, it is possible to see the lava flows at the summit area. Pele’s hair, a form of volcanic glass, and volcanic gas may be carried downwind by winds, along with possibly fine ash “.
The USGS-affiliated organisation that keeps an eye on natural disasters has been on high alert due to a recent increase in earthquakes at Mauna Loa’s summit.
The statement further noted that lava flows are now contained to the summit region and do not pose a hazard to adjacent populations.
Half of the Big Island is covered by Mauna Loa, the world’s largest active volcano.
There have been 33 reported eruptions, with periods between them varying from months to decades. In 1984, it last erupted.
The early stages of a Mauna Loa eruption can be quite dynamic, and the location and movement of lava flows can change quickly, according to HVO’s warning.
Their officials intend to fly over the location to evaluate the volcano’s condition and any potential dangers.
Online images have revealed a red glow coming from the peak in the night sky.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a different US government agency, tweeted satellite images of the eruption’s heat and sulphur dioxide emissions.
The Big Island, the southernmost island in the Hawaiian archipelago, is home to Mauna Loa, one of the five volcanoes that make up the island.
At 13,679ft (4,169m) above sea level it is much larger than the neighbouring Kilauea volcano, which erupted in 2018 and destroyed 700 homes.
In less than three hours, the lava from Mauna Loa’s 1950 eruption travelled 15 miles (24 km) to the ocean.