The awe-inspiring force of volcanic activity has once again captured attention across the globe as ash and smoke billow into the atmosphere on multiple continents. These recent volcanic events may evoke memories of elementary school science classes, where the fascinating subjects of volcanoes and flowing lava were often studied.
Kilauea, a renowned active volcano in Hawaii, has spectacularly resumed its eruption, treating spectators to a mesmerizing spectacle of erupting lava fountains and captivating lava “waves”, reported by Times of India.
Fortunately, no communities on the Big Island are currently under threat. The U.S. Geological Survey reported that Kilauea’s eruption commenced on Thursday within its summit crater, swiftly resuming activity less than a month after Kilauea and its larger neighbor, Mauna Loa, concluded their previous lava releases.
Webcam images from the Hawaii Volcano Observatory revealed a glowing presence within Halemaumau crater, located at the summit caldera of Kilauea, confirming the rekindling of volcanic activity. Read more.
Kilauea’s previous eruption spanned 16 months, starting in September 2021, and was followed by a two-week eruption of Mauna Loa last November, marking the first occurrence of simultaneous lava flows from the two volcanoes in 38 years.
With the initial rapid effusion rates gradually subsiding and no imminent threat to infrastructure, the observatory downgraded Kilauea’s alert level from a warning to a watch on Friday morning.
Kilauea’s current activity primarily impacts the natural landscape within Hawaii Volcano National Park and is distant from residential areas. The Big Island, however, has a profound understanding of living alongside active volcanoes, having witnessed the hazards they pose. During the November eruption of Mauna Loa, lava came within a mere 1.7 miles (2.7 kilometers) of a major highway connecting the island’s east and west sides.
In 2018, a Kilauea eruption destroyed over 700 homes. Although both volcanoes ceased their discharges simultaneously last month, scientists generally consider a three-month “cooling off” period necessary before deeming an eruption complete. Ongoing research aims to deepen the understanding of the interplay between these two volcanic powerhouses, but Mauna Loa remains dormant for now.
Thursday night witnessed breathtaking lava jets soaring as high as 164 feet (50 meters) from Kilauea’s vent, approximately the width of a football field. While most lava fountains were slightly smaller, reaching heights of 32 feet (10 meters), the fountains during Mauna Loa’s eruption two months ago surpassed 200 feet (60 meters).
By 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, the observatory reported a new layer of lava, approximately 32 feet (10 meters) deep, had accumulated on the crater floor, exemplifying the ongoing volcanic activity.
The reawakening of Kilauea has once again reminded the world of the captivating and unpredictable nature of volcanic phenomena. As scientists closely monitor these developments, the grandeur and power of the Earth’s inner workings continue to leave a lasting footmark on our collective consciousness.
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