World’s biggest volcano erupts on Hawaii

Hawaii’s Mauna Loa, the world’s largest active volcano, has erupted for the first time in nearly six years, sending a plume of smoke and ash thousands of feet into the sky and prompting warnings from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Mauna Loa Lava Flowing Out From Eruption
Mauna Loa Lava Flowing Out From Eruption (Maxar Technologies)

The eruption began late Wednesday night, and the US Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) reported that the activity was continuing Thursday morning. The lava flow has been traveling northeast and is currently about 3.5 miles (5.7 kilometers) from the summit.

USGS volcanologist Jim Kauahikaua mentioned advice to “strike a careful balance between concern for public safety, given the many unknowns, and the desire to collect data.”

The eruption is the first from Mauna Loa since 1984, and officials are urging caution to anyone in the area. HVO has issued a warning for the public to stay away from the lava flows, as they can be unpredictable and dangerous. The volcano is the largest in the Hawaiian chain and is considered one of the most biggest active volcanoes in the world.

The current eruption is not expected to cause any serious damage, however, authorities have warned that the eruption could continue and intensify, and more evacuations may be necessary. The eruption has also caused the closure of parks and trails in the area and has disrupted air travel, with some airlines canceling flights due to the ash plumes.

This is the first major eruption from Mauna Loa in decades, and has started off unexpectedly and dangerously. Scientists are monitoring the activity closely in order to better understand and predict future eruptions. In the meantime, Hawaiians are hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst.