The largest active volcano in the world, Long Mountainis erupting for the first time in nearly 40 years, triggering an ashfall advisory Monday for the Big Island of Hawaii and surrounding waters until 10 a.m. HT (3 p.m. ET).
Eruption in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park does not threaten downhill communities or flights to Hawaii Island, Hawaii Tourism Authority tweeted Monday morning. Still, a “less than a quarter-inch trace” of ashfall could accumulate on parts of the island, the Honolulu National Weather Service said, as winds can carry fine ash and volcanic gases downwind.
“People with respiratory illnesses should stay indoors to avoid inhaling ash particles and anyone outside should cover their mouth and nose with a mask or cloth,” the office warned. ‘Honolulu. “Possible damage to crops and animals. Minor damage to equipment and infrastructure. Reduced visibility. Large scale cleaning may be required.
Ashfall can damage vehicles and buildings, contaminate water supplies, disrupt sewage and electrical systems, and damage or kill vegetation, weather service sayswhile abrasive volcanic ash can irritate the eyes and lungs.
The lava flows are contained within the summit area and do not threaten downstream communities, the Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory said.
“Based on past events, the early stages of a Mauna Loa eruption can be very dynamic, and the location and advancement of lava flows can change rapidly,” the observatory said, adding, “If the eruption remains at Moku’āweoweo, the lava flows most likely confined within the walls of the caldera.
“However, if eruptive vents migrate outside its walls, lava flows can move rapidly downward.”
Red hues from the eruption lit up the skies before dawn Monday, according to footage captured at Kailua Bay & Pier by Kailua-Kona resident Matthew Liano, along the Big Island’s west coast.
“The glow is unlike anything I’ve seen living here in Kona for most of my life,” Liano told CNN.
The eruption began at Moku’āweoweo, Mauna Loa’s summit caldera, on Sunday around 11:30 p.m. HST (4:30 a.m. ET Monday), according to the observatory.
Mauna Loa, which covers half the island of Hawaii, has erupted 33 times since 1843, the volcano’s first “well-documented historical eruption”. according to the US Geological Survey. Its last eruption was in 1984, making this period of calm prolonged the longest volcano in recorded history.
Mauna Loa’s summit crater lies about 21 miles west of Kilauea, a smaller volcano whose eruption over the months in 2018 spewed lava into the Leilani Estates neighborhood, destroying more than 700 homes and the displacement of residents.
Mauna Loa has been in an increased state of agitationaccording to the agency, which pointed in an update late last month to high seismic activity and increasing earthquake rates.
Seismic activity has increased from five to 10 earthquakes per day since June 2022 to some 10 to 20 earthquakes per day in July and August, according to the US Geological Survey. Peaks of more than 100 earthquakes per day were recorded on September 23 and 29, CNN reported.
The increase in activity prompted Hawaii Volcanoes National Park in October to close Mauna Loa summit to all backcountry hikers until further notice, however the US National Park Service said the main section of the park remained open.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed the Eastern Time equivalents for the ashfall advisory and the eruption.