Mauna Loa, the world’s largest active volcano, has erupted for the first time in nearly four decades, and civil defence officials warned residents on Hawaii’s Big Island to stay alert even though there doesn’t appear to be any immediate danger. Kilauea is also erupting — both on the archipelago’s Big Island. Dual eruptions haven’t been seen since 1984.
“This is a rare time where we have two eruptions happening simultaneously. To the people of Hawaii, this is a very sacred event that we are watching” Jessica Ferracane, a spokesperson for Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, noted. The Kilauea volcano, which is smaller and more active than Mauna Loa, had been erupting since 1983, and in 2018, its lava flows destroyed hundreds of homes on the island. Recently, its eruption activity has been confined to the crater, according to the US Geological Survey.
Scientists say two new lava flows formed on Mauna Loa, which last erupted in 1984. The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (EMA) said that there is ‘still no immediate threat to populated areas’ from the Mauna Loa eruption. According to the EMA, the lava was about 3.5 miles from Saddle Road, which connects the east and west sides of the island.
Ken Hon, scientist-in-charge at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, said experts are monitoring the lava’s movement.
“It could just as easily shift and start another flow as well and we’ll just watch it very, very carefully. We are thinking very much about advances,” Hon said.
The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park remains open but visitors are urged to check the park website for closure updates, safety alerts, and air quality.