Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano began erupting Wednesday afternoon for the first time since May, spewing lava at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, CNN reports.
Officials note that while there is no present danger to nearby residents on Hawaii’s Big Island, the situation will be monitored for further escalation.
The US Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory had raised its watch alert level earlier in the day after it recorded an increase in seismic readings.
“Increased earthquake activity and changes in the patterns of ground deformation at Kilauea’s summit began occurring as of approximately noon on September 29, 2021, indicating movement of magma in the subsurface,” USGS said.
The agency said it detected with observatory webcams a glow within Kilauea’s summit crater at around 3:20 p.m. local time, indicating that an eruption had commenced.
David Phillips, the observatory’s deputy scientist-in-charge, told CNN that evidence of change at the site had been noticed the night before.
“Just after midnight, we started to get some increase in earthquake activity and seismic swarms,” he said.
The eruption is entirely within the boundaries of the park. There is no current threat to life or infrastructure, Phillips said, but the eruption could potentially last for months.
Last month, a recorded increase in earthquake activity led the observatory to increase its volcano alert from “advisory” to “watch,” USGS said.
Kilauea’s most recent eruption began last December, and locals were asked by authorities to stay indoors to avoid exposure to ash clouds. The volcano continued to discharge lava for five months.
In 2018, an eruption destroyed more than 700 homes and forced residents to evacuate.