HONOLULU (AP) – One of the world’s largest volcanoes is erupting on the island of Hawaii.
US Geological Survey officials confirmed Wednesday that the eruption began in the Kaleuea volcano Halemaumau crater at a mountain summit.
Webcam images of the crater showed springs of water covering the bottom of the pit and clouds of rising gas rising in the sky. The same location was at the home of a large lake of mud at different times in the eruption of the previous mountain.
The eruption is not in a residential area and is entirely within the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
“All indications are that it will stay in the hole,” said Ken Hon, a USGS scientist who oversees the Hawaii Volcano Observatory. “We do not see any evidence that the mud enters the lower part of the eastern border where people live. Currently all events are in the park.”
The volcano part of the reminder was raised to “warning” and the flight code changed to red.
On Wednesday, officials said it increased the activity of earthquakes and landslides that were detected, and at the same time raised awareness measures accordingly.
Kilauea had a major eruption in 2018 that destroyed more than 700 homes and left thousands of residents. Prior to the eruption, the volcano had been erupting slowly for decades, but often not in human settlements.
Prior to the 2018 eruption, Kilauea had been erupting since 1983 and muddy streams periodically covered farms and rural homes. During that time, volcanoes sometimes reached the sea, resulting in spectacular interactions with water.
For more than four months in 2018, Kilauea has drained enough mud to fill three hundred and thirty-year-old swimming pools, covering an area of more than half the size of Manhattan up to 24 meters of dry lava now. The molten rock reduced the landmarks, roads and areas to a vast field of black rock and volcanic shard.
After the eruption of 2018, the sea car stopped erupting and for the first time in recorded history it began to fill with water, raising concerns about the possibility of interaction between the volcanoes and groundwater.
The same volcanic eruption Wednesday erupted again in December and continued until May.
Hon said these types of eruptions could have been happening for years as the mountain fills up.
“We know that one thing that happens is that magma keeps coming to Kilauea in a constant way so therefore you’re either filling up the inside of the mountain and pressing it or it’s coming out on top.”
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park spokeswoman Jessica Ferracane told The Associated Press that she had not yet reached the park, but that her colleagues had seen it spread and shine during the conference.
“He saw it from the Volcano House, which is two miles from the crash site, so I guess … we’ll be able to see the bright light, and who knows more,” he said.
The Volcano House is a hotel and restaurant within a national park near the tourist area. The park is open to visitors.
Ferracane said the blast area is not close to people who can climb or drive. Roads descending from the blast were closed for years.
“The park is open and no roads are closed at this time,” Ferracane said.
Ferracane added that officials are expecting tens of thousands of visitors to the park and that people need to be extra vigilant with regard to natural disasters and COVID-19.
“The blast will attract more people to the park, we are already seeing people entering the park, driving in the dark of night,” Ferracane said. “We really want people to remember that we are in the middle of a disease and they must stay safe and keep us safe.”
He said people should keep six feet and wear masks.
“If you are sick, please do not come. Come visit another day. Enjoy the view from the webcam web, ”he said. “We really want the absence of this explosion to increase the spread of COVID.”