September 29, KÄ«lauea volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii began to bubble and flood lava into Halema’uma’u Crater. The increase in seismic activity followed by swelling of the ground alerted officials at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Hawaiian Volcano Observatory that an eruption was imminent, Caleb Jones reports for The Associated Press.
The flaming volcanic explosion was confirmed after webcams atop KÄ«lauea spotted an amber glow, Live ScienceLaura Geggel reports. USGS cameras continued to capture stunning images of the crater’s crackling surface, clouds of volcanic gas, lava fountains, and the lava lake in Halema’uma’u Crater. According to a USGS release, the tallest magma fountain reached 82 to 98 feet tall.
KÄ«lauea has an elevation of 4,009 feet and a magma system that reaches 37 miles below the ground, Live Science reports. The volcano is the youngest, most active, and southeastern most volcano in the Hawaiian Islands. The most recent eruption in KÄ«lauea occurred in December 2020, which spat lava for five months, CNN’s Andy Rose and Joe Sutton report. Before 2020, the volcano exploded in a fury of hot magma in 2018 that destroyed homes and displaced thousands of the island’s residents. In four months, the KÄ«lauea dumped enough lava to fill 320,000 Olympic-size swimming pools and blanketed an 80-foot Manhattan-sized area with hardened lava, according to the Associated Press.
All lava activity is contained within Halema’uma’u Crater located in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park and does not pose an immediate threat to the public. People who live near KÄ«lauea have been warned of exposure to volcanic gases like sulfur dioxide, which can irritate the respiratory system, reports Reuters.
Pilots flying near the volcano after Wednesday night’s eruption reported seeing wire-shaped pieces of volcanic glass known as PelÃ©’s hair throw up in the sky, Live Science reports. The volcanic glass is golden, looks like strands of hair, and collects in pigtails on the floor. Glass forms when gas bubbles burst near the surface of the lava, stretching the molten lava into long strands. The strands bear the name Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes.
In total, Hawaii’s youngest volcano has erupted 34 times since 1954. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park remains open and officials suspect people will flood the area in hopes of spotting the volcano.
âThis eruption is going to attract a lot of people to the park, and we are already seeing people driving into the park after dark,â said Jessica Ferracane, spokesperson for Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, said. at the Associated Press.
USGS scientists say that since the 2018 eruption drained most of the magma from KÄ«lauea, the volcano is recharging, and minor eruptions like this are more likely to occur for years as it occurs. filled with lava, reports the Associated Press.