Mauna Loa, the world’s largest active volcano, started erupting overnight on Hawaii’s Big Island for the first time in nearly 40 years.
The National Weather Service in Honolulu warned of a quarter-inch or less of ashfall on portions of the Big Island. The Hawai’i Tourism Authority tweeted the eruption is “not currently threatening communities downhill” or affecting flights.
The Hawaii Emergency Management Authority tweeted Monday morning that lava may be “overflowing into the southwest portion” of the volcano’s caldera, but populated areas are not yet threatened.
No evacuation orders are yet in place, but shelters have been opened as a precaution at two places on the island, according to Hawaii EMA.
“Roughly half” of recorded Mauna Loa eruptions have remained inside the caldera, Hawaii EMA tweeted.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the “early stages of a Mauna Loa eruption can be very dynamic,” and the behavior of lava flows can rapidly change. USGS said lava flows could rapidly run downslope if “eruptive vents migrate” outside the walls of the caldera.
Real-time views of the volcano can be seen on USGS webcams. Social media footage Monday morning showed clouds rising from a glowing red patch on the horizon.
The volcano is emerging from its longest recorded period of dormancy, having last erupted in 1984, according to CNN. Thirty-three eruptions have been recorded since 1843.
The volcano is situated near the center of Hawaii’s main island in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. the summit was closed to visitors last month amid increased seismic activity, CNN reported.
This was a breaking news story. The details were periodically updated as more information became available.