Mauna Loa, the volcano that began to erupt on Hawaii’s Big Island Sunday evening, continues to spit hot fire, putting on a gorgeous show of the sheer force of nature.
Stunning photos and video are emerging as lava spews into the summit caldera.
The world’s largest volcano began releasing ash and steam Sunday, after nearly four decades of quiet, and by late evening a red hue had filled the sky.
Helicopter flyovers are capturing lava pouring from a handful of fissures in the mountain, and Forbes reports that some of the molten rock is being propelled as high as 60 metres.
Paradise Helicopters, a private helicopter adventure company, captured incredible footage Monday, showing lava bubbling and spouting from the volcano.
Officials continue to reassure residents and tourists that the lava flow is not threatening any communities or populous areas right now, as the lava is high in elevation and centred on the side of Mauna Loa that is less steep.
No evacuation orders have been issued as of Tuesday, but officials say the volcano has the potential to behave unpredictably and lava might eventually reach communities, but it would likely take a week or more for that to happen.
However, Mauna Loa is spewing sulphur dioxide and other volcanic gases. They form volcanic smog, or vog, when they mix with vapour, oxygen and dust in sunlight. As a result, state health officials are urging people to cut back on outdoor exercise and other activities that cause heavy breathing.
Mauna Loa last erupted in 1984. Its smaller, more active neighbour, Kilauea volcano, has been erupting continuously since September 2021.
People on the Big Island have kept their eyes peeled on the eruption, with many venturing out to get a good vantage point of the fiery fury.
Mauna Loa is one of five volcanoes that together make up the Big Island of Hawaii, which is the southernmost island in the Hawaiian archipelago. It’s not the tallest (that title goes to Mauna Kea) but it’s the largest and makes up about half of the island’s land mass.
It sits immediately north of Kilauea volcano, which is well-known for a 2018 eruption that destroyed 700 homes and sent rivers of lava spreading across farms and into the ocean.
Mauna Loa last erupted 38 years ago. The current eruption is its 34th since its written history began in 1843.
Mauna Loa’s volume is estimated to be at least 75,000 square kilometres, making it the world’s largest volcano when measured from the ocean floor to its summit.
— With files from The Associated Press
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