Washington [US] : Officials have raised the warning level for Hawaii’s erupting Kilauea volcano. The officials have spoken about a number of safe locations for the thousands who are expected to flock to the area to capture the view, CNN reported.
Kilauea volcano in Hawaii started erupting on Wednesday morning (local time), CNN reported citing Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO). The US Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory detected a glow in Kilauea summit webcam images on June 7. Kilauea volcano shot-up fountain burst about 200 feet high in the early phase of the eruption on Wednesday, with the largest lava fountain consistently coming in at about 50 feet high, the US Geological Survey said. As the lava was flowing on the surface of the crater floor, the alert level for Kilauea was raised to red for ‘warning,’ as per the CNN report.
According to HVO, authorities analysed the hazards from the eruption. Kilauea’s eruption is confined to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. According to officials, there is no indication that populated areas are threatened.
‘At approximately 4:44 a.m. HST on June 7, 2023, the (US Geological Survey’s) Hawaiian Volcano Observatory detected glow in Kilauea summit webcam images indicating that an eruption has commenced within Halema`uma`u crater in Kilauea’s summit caldera, within Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park,’ the observatory said in a statement as per the CNN report.
Kilauea is expected to draw thousands of visitors to the national park, according to officials. Visitors have been asked to stay on marked trails and overlooks and keep out of closed areas, according to CNN report.
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park officials called seeing the crust of an active lava lake being dragged into seething fountains ‘unforgettable.’ The officials further said, ‘While an eruption is an exciting experience, keep in mind you are observing a sacred event.’
According to the National Park Service (NPS), eruptions have incredible spiritual significance and Kilauea’s summit is sacred in native Hawaiian tradition. Those planning to witness lava display can witness it from as close as half a mile away from the Overlook near Keanakako`i Crater, a mile away from Uekahuna and two miles away from Kupina’i Pali from Crater Rim Trail, CNN reported citing NPS.
Park officials said lava might be visible from many areas and overlooks surrounding Kaluapele. However, officials warned that the conditions can change at any time due to the eruptive activity and weather conditions.
The NPS on its website said, ‘Large amounts of volcanic gas–primarily water vapor (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), and sulfur dioxide (SO2)–are continuously released during eruptions of Kilauea volcano,’ according to CNN report.
Volcanic smog creates the potential for airborne health hazards to people, it further said.
Other hazards include long, thin strands of volcanic glass and other volcanic fragments from the lava fountains that can fall downwind of the fissure vents, according to officials, the report said.
The USGS advised people to minimise exposure to these volcanic particles, which can cause skin and eye irritation.