The Kilauea volcano on the “Big Island” of Hawaii went hyperactive around 9:30 p.m. Sunday, with an eruption sending fountains of lava 164 feet into the air. Huge jets of steam caused the National Weather Service to issue a “code red” aviation restriction over the area.
Late Sunday eruption
Described as a powerful eruption, the lake of water which collected at the bottom of the volcano’s crater was quickly boiled dry, shooting a steam cloud into the atmosphere which lasted about an hour and replaced the lake with molten lava. “All the water evaporated out of the lake and a steam cloud shot up about 30,000 feet.”
According to Tom Birchard, a senior forecaster with the National Weather Service in Hawaii, beginning within the Halema’uma’u crater, “a new lava flow interacted with a pool of water inside the crater and that led to a short-lived but a fairly vigorous eruption.”
The volcano is located within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
The weather service issued an advisory bulletin, “warning of fallen ash from the volcano. Excessive exposure to ash is an eye and respiratory irritant.”
A “low-level steam cloud” is still lingering in the vicinity of the eruption. By around 1:00 a.m. Monday, “there were reported lava fountains shooting about 165 feet into the sky.”
It also caused an earthquake
David Phillips with the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, said the agency was monitoring the eruption situation. “We will send out further notifications on Kilauea and other Hawaiian volcanoes as we observe changes.”
As noted on social media by mayoral candidate Ikaika Marzo, “Right now, there’s some spattering happening within the caldera. So now the next concern is the huge plume that is gong down into the Ka’u district. Right now it’s really mellow, it’s not too bad. It’s like a normal day at Halemaumau crater.”
A magnitude 4.4 earthquake hit about an hour after the volcano woke up. following the eruption, “more than 500 reports of people who felt the earthquake but significant damage to buildings or structures was not expected.”
The last time Kilauea erupted was in in 2018. It wiped out “more than 700 homes” and enough lava flowed “to fill 320,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.” It buried “an area more than half the size of Manhattan” up to 80 feet deep in now-hardened lava over the course of four months.