Red alert issued as Hawaii's Kilauea volcano starts erupting and spewing lava

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Gas and steam erupt from the Halemaumau Crater of the Kilauea Volcano (Image: Getty Images)
Gas and steam erupt from the Halemaumau Crater of the Kilauea Volcano (Image: Getty Images)

Another volcano has started erupting in Hawaii less than a month after Mauna Loa stopped releasing lava in the Pacific island state.

Hawaii’s Kilauea began erupting inside its summit crater on Thursday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory detected a glow in webcam images which indicated that Kilauea had begun erupting inside Halemaumau crater at the volcano’s summit caldera, the agency said.

Kilauea’s summit is inside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and away from residential communities, although hundreds of homes had to be evacuated when it erupted five years ago.

Kilauea is one of the world’s most active volcanoes. It last erupted for 16 months starting in September 2021.

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Red alert issued as Hawaii's Kilauea volcano starts erupting and spewing lavaKilauea is one of the world’s most active volcanoes (Drew Downs/AP/REX/Shutterstock)

For about two weeks starting on November 27, Hawaii had two volcanoes spewing lava side by side when Mauna Loa erupted for the first time in 38 years. Both volcanoes stopped erupting at about the same time.

Earlier on Thursday, the U.S. Geological Survey raised the alert level for Kilauea due to signs that magma was moving below the summit surface, an indication that the volcano might erupt.

In November last year, residents living near Mauna Loa were put on standby to evacuate as the ongoing eruption spewed fountains of lava up to 60m (200ft) in the air.

Island inhabitants will remember the eruption of Kilauea in 2018; an event that destroyed about 700 homes.

Audrey McAvoy

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