Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano Resumes Lava Show After Three-Month Hiatus


Rekindling its fiery activity following a three-month hiatus, Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano broke its silent spell on Sunday when radiant streams of lava started streaking through its craters, reports the US Geological Survey.

The fiery spectacle commenced at approximately 3:15 p.m. local time in the Halemaʻumaʻu crater, situated in the volcano’s summit caldera, located inside Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. Notorious as the youngest and most active volcano on the island, Kilauea has exhibited numerous summit eruptions throughout 2020.

However, as of Monday, the previous high alert status provided by the USGS was downgraded to that of a ‘watch’ as the volcano’s dramatic display appeared to stabilize. According to an official statement from the USGS, “The initial extraordinarily high effusion rates experienced a decline and no surrounding infrastructure faces any imminent threat”.

Concurrently, the volcano’s previously threatening activation color code transitioned from red to a less alarming orange, predominantly due to “the absence of noteworthy volcanic ash emission into the atmosphere beyond the dangerous no-go zones within Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park,” as per the same statement.

The weekend’s renewed volcanic activity was heralded by a period of powerful seismicity and an abrupt uplift of the summit, USGS conveyed. Visual evidence showed lava seeping out through fissures at the foot of the crater, however, the eruption remained confined within its bounds.

At present, “the lava at Kilauea poses no danger to surrounding communities” as it remains restricted to the summit, according to the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.

With the volcano back in action, primary hazards include volcanic gas and fragile strands of volcanic glass, aptly named ‘Pele’s hair’. These particles have the potential to drift downwind, the agency warns, and the strong winds at work “could carry these lighter fragments to significant distances.”

Residents and tourists alike are urged to minimize exposure to these potentially harmful volcanic substances which may cause skin and eye irritation.

Kilauea’s previous eruption occurred in June, with spectacular lava fountain displays reaching about 200 feet high. However, the eruption transitory, ending on June 19. Prior to that, another eruption in January was observed after a month of dormancy since December, the first pause in activity since an eruption in September 2021 when the lava was contained within the volcano’s summit crater.

However, it is the 2018 eruption that remains etched in memory as one of the most destructive in Hawaii’s recent past, resulting in the devastation of hundreds of homes and necessitating the evacuation of nearby neighborhoods.

“Kilauea has undergone a near-constant evolution since the 2018 episode, with varied instances of calm, unrest, eruptions, and everything in between,” according to the USGS.

Sunday’s eruption at Kilauea stands as “a solemn testament to the inherent sanctity of this environment,” as voiced by Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park on their social media.

Acknowledging the privilege to witness nature’s raw, creative power in volcanic eruption, they further stated the consequential obligation “to approach this place with reverence.”

The native Hawaiian tradition imbues each eruption with a spiritual weight, with Kilauea’s summit held sacred as the abode of Pele, the Hawaiian volcano deity, as per the National Park Service.


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