Kilauea volcano erupted overnight for the first time in more than two years, placing Hawaii’s Big Island on a red alert Monday morning.
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said the situation is “rapidly evolving.” It’s unclear what, if any, damage has occurred so far.
The eruption began late Sunday within the volcano’s Halemaumau crater, at the summit of Kilauea. The HVO said it detected a “glow” within the crater at about 9:30 p.m. local time.
The water lake that was previously forming in Halemaʻumaʻu has now disappeared, as lava has once again made an appearance inside of the crater. https://t.co/S7gdIGajiZ
— Hawaii Volcanoes NPS (@Volcanoes_NPS) December 21, 2020
About an hour later, the agency recorded a magnitude 4.4 earthquake located beneath Kilauea’s south flank.
A “red” alert was then issued. It means an eruption is “imminent” with the likely emission of significant volcanic ash into the atmosphere.
An advisory was issued by the National Weather Service in Honolulu, warning residents to avoid falling volcanic ash, which is an eye and respiratory irritant, the agency said.
Hawaii County Civil Defense shared on Twitter that residents should stay indoors.
Kilauea, the world’s most active volcano, last erupted in 2018 — a destructive event that lasted months. Hundreds of homes were destroyed and thousands of people had to be evacuated.