World’s largest active volcano erupts setting off more than a dozen earthquakes

Shola Lee

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World’s largest active volcano erupts setting off more than a dozen earthquakes

Featured Image Credit: @usgsvolcanoes/Twitter

Mauna Loa, the world's largest active volcano, is erupting for the first time in 38 years.

The volcano, situated in the south-central part of Hawaii, started erupting today, 28 November.

Based on previous data, the early stages of this eruption are dynamic and subject to change, causing the incredible island to brace for the days to come.

The eruption occurred just after 11:30pm local time. Credit: USGS
The eruption occurred just after 11:30pm local time. Credit: USGS

The eruption occurred at 11:30 p.m. HST (10:30 am BST) and an alert for the eruption was changed from 'advisory' to 'warning.'

It has triggered over a dozen earthquakes with magnitudes greater than 2.5 on the Richter scale.

A notification was later sent out to residents from the Hawaii Volcano Observatory, issued by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), which said: "At this time, lava flows are contained within the summit area and are not threatening downslope communities.

"Winds may carry volcanic gas and possibly fine ash and Pele’s hair downwind," they said referring to a type of lava.

"If the eruption remains in Moku’āweoweo, lava flows will most likely be confined within the caldera walls.

"However, if the eruptive vents migrate outside its walls, lava flows may move rapidly downslope."

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service in Honolulu warned residents to be careful of ash fall.

The volcano is currently erupting. Credit: USGS
The volcano is currently erupting. Credit: USGS

"People with respiratory illnesses should remain indoors to avoid inhaling the ash particles and anyone outside should cover their mouth and nose with a mask or cloth."

It also warned of 'possible harm to crops and animals. Minor equipment and infrastructure damage. Reduced visibility. Widespread clean-up may be necessary'.

The volcano sits 13,679 feet above the Pacific Ocean and takes over half of the Big Island in Hawaii.

It last erupted in 1984, with a flow of lava spreading for five miles. While, of course, that sounds incredibly scary, the USGS was quick to reassure people: "Hawaiian lava flows have rarely caused human fatalities, but they can cause extensive damage by covering, burning, and crushing anything in their paths, or starting secondary fires."

It also tweeted out satellite views of the eruption along with the caption: "Satellite view from GOES West shows the development of the Mauna Loa eruption and associated plume (Island of Hawaiʻi is in lower left)."

The authority went on to reassure people that the height of the volcano has little impact on the damage the eruption can cause: "The elevation doesn't make that much of a difference. The real hazards are related to eruption rates - Mauna Loa tends to erupt at higher rates than Kilauea - and the reach of the rift zones, which can send flows into populated areas."

Topics: News, World News, Weather, Climate Change

Shola Lee
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