Kilauea Volcano Erupts in Hawaii, Prompting Warning About Ash

The Kilauea volcano in Hawaii erupted overnight Sunday, prompting the authorities to warn residents to shelter from ash driven by the wind away from the volcano, considered one of the most active in the world.

Kilauea lies in the southeast corner of the Big Island, where its continuous, decades-long activity has been punctuated by sequences of eruptions.

The eruption occurred at the Halema’uma’u crater of the volcano, to the west at Kilauea’s summit, according to the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency, citing the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. The observatory, part of the United States Geological Survey, detected a glow within the crater at about 9:30 p.m. local time on Sunday, saying then that an eruption had started.

The agency said trade winds would propel ash toward the southwest, placing communities in the path of the fallout: the Kau District in Wood Valley, on the southeastern side of the island, and several Census-designated areas of hundreds of people, including Pahala, Naalehu and Ocean View.

“Stay indoors to avoid exposure to ash,” the agency said.

Lava cascaded into the water lake of the summit, boiling off the water and replacing it with a lava lake. All of the lava was contained in the Halema’uma’u crater, according to the agency.

Preliminary data recorded a 4.4-magnitude earthquake late on Sunday local time near the south flank of Kilauea, it said.

The south flank of Kilauea has been the location for more than 30 earthquakes of magnitude-4.0 or greater in the past two decades. On April 30, 2018, the Pu’u ’O’o crater on the Kilauea volcano collapsed, setting off the most destructive eruption of its recorded history. It lasted for the spring and summer, transforming the landscape and destroying hundreds of homes.

The Kilauea volcano has been erupting since 1983. The focal points at the start of the 2018 eruption sequence were the Halema’uma’u crater and a flank area known as the lower east rift zone, a point where the volcano’s surface is gradually splitting apart.

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