For the first since 1984, Hawaii’s Mauna Loa, also the world’s largest active volcano, has erupted. According to the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, the recent eruption on Hawaii’s Big Island has resulted in lava spewing hundreds of feet into the air. People are now sharing stunning pictures and videos of the incredible natural wonder.
Gunner Mench, a Kamuela art gallery owner, said he woke up just after midnight after receiving a notification on his phone about the eruption. Immediately after, he and his wife, Ellie, went out to film the otherwordly glow that covered the island as vibrant red lava poured out of Mauna Loa.
“You could see it spurting up into the air, over the edge of this depression,” Mench said about getting a first-hand account of the phenomenon. He added: “Right now, it’s just entertainment, but the concern is it could reach populated areas.”
Although many tourists and natives flock outside their homes to see the sight, officials are warning people to stay safe. The main observatory urges people to use caution as lava flows could continue to move downslope.
“There is no active lava within Moku’āweoweo caldera, and there is no lava erupting from the Southwest Rift Zone. We do not expect any eruptive activity outside the Northeast Rift Zone. No property is at risk currently. There is a visible gas plume from the erupting fissure fountains and lava flows, with the plume primarily being blown to the Northwest,” the organization said in a statement.
Hawaiian officials warn residents to be cautious as Mauna Loa continues to erupt
Following a series of earthquakes, the eruption started on Sunday night. Now, the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife has decided to close the Mauna Loa Forest Reserve and the Kipuka’ Ainahou Nēnē Sanctuary for at least 90 days.
Although no evacuations have been put in place, the Hawaii Department of Health is reminding the public about volcanic smoke, also known as “vog,” across the area. As a result, they advise people to refrain from outdoor activities.
“Air quality remains normal. However, the eruption could cause #vog, ash in the air, and levels of sulfur dioxide to increase and fluctuate. Conditions may change rapidly,” the organization said in a tweet on Monday.
Before the eruption, the earthquake hit the area six miles east of Big Island’s Pahala community. Now, officials warn that aftershocks may continue over the next several days as the volcano shoots lava into the air.
However, thankfully, Hawaiian officials announced the island may have steered clear of a disaster as lava flows away from city areas. It’s now slowed down near Saddle Road, which cuts through the middle of the island.