(BIVN) – Kīlauea began erupting lava at the summit early Wednesday morning.
After a short period of increased earthquake activity and changes in the patterns of ground deformation that prompted the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory at 3:14 a.m. HST to elevate the alert level for Kīlauea from ADVISORY to WATCH, lava emerged within Halemaʻumaʻu a little over an hour later.
At 4:44 a.m. HST, scientists detected glow in Kīlauea summit webcam images, indicating that an eruption has commenced. The Kīlauea volcano alert level was then raised from WATCH to WARNING and its aviation color code from ORANGE to RED.
All activity is presently confined to the summit caldera within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.
“The opening phases of eruptions are dynamic,” the USGS HVO wrote. “Webcam imagery shows fissures at the base of Halemaʻumaʻu crater generating lava flows on the surface of the crater floor. The activity is confined to Halemaʻumaʻu and the hazards will be reassessed as the eruption progresses.”
“Due to the eruption, you can expect higher levels of volcanic gases and fine ash near the eruption site,” noted the Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense in an alert message. “Please take necessary precautions when near these areas.”
HVO says it will continue to monitor this activity closely and report any significant changes in future notices.