Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano erupts for third time this year

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The Hawaii Volcano Observatory said the eruption of Kilauea was first observed Sunday afternoon at the volcano's summit [Big Island VIP via Reuters]

Local emergency management agency says eruption on Hawaii’s Big Island ‘does not pose a lava threat to communities’.

One of the world’s most active volcanoes has erupted again in the US state of Hawaii after a two-month pause, spewing fountains of lava more than 24m (79 feet) high.

The Hawaii Volcano Observatory said the eruption of Kilauea was observed Sunday afternoon at the volcano’s summit.

A United States Geological Survey (USGS) livestream from the rim of the caldera showed fountains of lava erupting from multiple fissures in the crater early on Monday.

The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency wrote on social media that the eruption “does not pose a lava threat to communities”.

“However, eruptions emit volcanic particles and gases which may create breathing problems for people exposed,” it said.

The eruption was preceded by a period of strong seismicity and “rapid uplift” of the summit, according to USGS.

The agency elevated Kilauea’s aviation colour code from orange to red as it evaluates the eruption and its volcano alert from watch to warning.

It is the third time the volcano has erupted this year, after bursting to life in January and June.

Located in a closed area of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Big Island, well away from population centres, Kilauea is much smaller than neighbouring Mauna Loa but is far more active.

One of six active volcanoes on the Hawaiian islands, it erupted almost continuously between 1983 and 2019.

In 2019, a string of earthquakes and a major eruption at Kilauea led to the destruction of hundreds of homes and businesses.

The volcano last erupted for several weeks beginning in June, displaying fountains of red lava without threatening any communities or structures.

Crowds of people flocked to the Big Island’s Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which offered safe views of the lava.

Kilauea, one of the most active volcanoes in the world, erupts in Hawaii
A view of the Kilauea eruption early on September 11, 2023 [Screenshot: US Geological Survey via AP Photo]
SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES

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