One of the world’s most active volcanoes is breathing fire and gurgling lava again after taking a break for a few years. Kilauea in Volcanoes National Park on Hawaii’s Big Island began erupting Sunday night at around 9:30 p.m. local time.
In 2018, Kilauea’s main caldera, known as Halemaʻumaʻu, began to collapse as lava withdrew from the molten lake at the bottom of the crater and a month’s long eruption started in the shield volcano’s nearby lower east rift zone.
During that eruption, lava burst forth from fissures in the ground and flowed across the earth, destroying homes, vaporizing entire lakes and remaking the landscape.
Then, after a few months, the eruption subsided. Curiously, Halemaʻumaʻu began to fill with water, creating one of the world’s most dangerous crater lakes over the past few years.
As of Sunday night, that wet lake is gone and lava has again returned to Halemaʻumaʻu. The process of boiling off the water lake sent a spout of steam into the atmosphere reaching nearly 30,000 feet in altitude, according to the National Weather Service.
The US Geological Survey has issued a red warning for aviators to avoid the area.
Sunday night’s eruption was also accompanied by a 4.4 magnitude earthquake, according to the USGS.
The National Weather Service initially issued an advisory warning of potential ashfall in the area, but within a few hours of the start of the eruption, officials reported that the turmoil had begun to ease, “with just a low-level steam cloud lingering.”
The County Civil Defense agency originally urged residents to stay indoors to avoid the ashfall but the weather service later stated there have been no reports of ash and that steam seems to have been the main product of the eruption.
All the associated government agencies have committed to monitoring the situation and providing updates.