Lazy writers love to suggest that the world is figuratively “on fire” whenever more than a few random crises are occurring congruently, as it’s an easy way to suggest that we really are just a few scant scandals away from a rather profound and seismic occurrence. At least, that’s how it can feel at times.
But there are some times when the world is a bit more literally on fire, and this just so happens to be one of those times.
The world’s largest active volcano, Hawaii’s Mauna Loa, has started to erupt for the first time in nearly four decades, prompting volcanic ash and debris to fall nearby, authorities said Monday.
The eruption began at approximately 11:30 p.m. Sunday in Moku‘āweoweo, the summit caldera of the Mauna Loa volcano, inside Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island.
As of 2:43 a.m. local time, “the eruption continues at the summit of Mauna Loa,” according to the latest Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Status Report from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). “All vents remain restricted to the summit area,” the report said. “However, lava flows in the summit region are visible from Kona. There is currently no indication of any migration of the eruption into a rift zone.”
Authorities were seemingly on top of things, however.
“The Volcano Alert Level and Aviation Color Code for Mauna Loa remains at WARNING/RED,” the update added. “HVO is continuing to monitor conditions carefully and will issue additional notices as needed.”
The USGS warned that residents at risk from Mauna Loa lava flows should review their eruption preparations. Scientists had been on alert because of a recent spike in earthquakes at the summit of the volcano, which last erupted in 1984.
Portions of the Big Island were under an ashfall advisory issued by the National Weather Service in Honolulu, which said up to a quarter-inch of ash could accumulate in some areas.
Images from the eruption were haunting social media.
Mauna Loa erupting at sunrise is literally the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen pic.twitter.com/YQdDfKHCMH
— Paul (@pfranci2) November 28, 2022
Hawaii’s Mauna Loa, the world’s largest active volcano, has ERUPTED. This is its first eruption in 38 years‼️🌋pic.twitter.com/UPTMUj2rxk
— Daily Loud (@DailyLoud) November 29, 2022
Mauna Loa is erupting in Hawaii 🌴 pic.twitter.com/M6U5GybifD
— David Arch (@racerxHI) November 28, 2022
New aerial footage showing lava flowing from Mauna Loa volcano eruption 🌋 @KITV4
(video: Paradise Helicopters) pic.twitter.com/oprB85vNdC
— Tom George (@TheTomGeorge) November 28, 2022
Authorities are closely monitoring the situation.