According to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, on June 7, 2023, at approximately 4:44 a.m. HST, the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii began erupting. The eruption occurred within Halemaʻumaʻu crater, located in Kīlauea’s summit caldera within Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. The initial stages of the eruption were characterized by dynamic activity, with fissures forming at the base of Halemaʻumaʻu crater and generating lava flows on the crater floor. The observatory raised the alert level to red, indicating a “warning.”
The eruption remains confined within the boundaries of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, and the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory is in constant communication with park officials. As of now, there is no indication that populated areas are at risk, as stated by the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency on Twitter.
Live video footage from the US Geological Survey shows glowing lava shooting into the air from the summit of the Kilauea volcano. The National Park Service has identified safe locations for people to observe the eruption, allowing visitors to view it from distances as close as half-a-mile away. However, it is crucial for the public to follow safety precautions, such as staying on designated trails and overlooks while avoiding closed areas.
The National Park Service emphasizes the significance of witnessing such an event while respecting its sacred nature. Observing the crust of an active lava lake being engulfed by surging fountains is an unforgettable experience.
Kilauea also erupted in January and showed signs of “heightened unrest” in May. The volcano had stopped erupting in December for the first time since September 2021. It was the first time that Kilauea and its neighbor, Mauna Loa, the world’s largest active volcano, had erupted simultaneously since 1984.
The lava from the 2021 eruption was contained to Kilauea’s summit crater, but a previous eruption in 2018 caused devastation. A slow-moving flood of lava destroyed hundreds of homes in the southeast area of Big Island and completely filled Kapoho Bay.
The lava flowing into the bay sent billowing clouds of steam into the atmosphere as hot lava hit the cool water of the Pacific Ocean. Officials at the time warned residents about laze, a nasty mashup of lava and haze that sends hydrochloric acid and volcanic glass particles into the air.
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