Updated Jan 6, 2023 - Science

Hawaii raises alert level as Kīlauea volcano erupts again

Lava is visible from several areas and overlooks around the caldera of Hawaii's Kīlauea volcano.

Lava is visible from several areas and overlooks around the caldera of Hawaii's Kīlauea volcano, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Service. Photo: Hawaii Volcanoes NPS/Twitter

Hawaii's Kīlauea volcano began erupting again Thursday — less than a month after it and neighboring volcano Mauna Loa were last active.

Driving the news: The U.S. Geological Survey said in a statement Thursday night that the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory detected a "glow in Kīlauea summit webcam images indicating that the eruption has resumed within Halemaʻumaʻu crater in Kīlauea’s summit caldera, within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park."

A screenshot of a USGS tweet showing Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano erupting.
Photo: Hawaii EMA/Twitter

State of play: The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory increased the volcano alert from "watch" to "warning" following the eruption.

  • "The opening phases of eruptions are dynamic," the agency said.
  • "Webcam imagery shows fissures at the base of Halemaʻumaʻu crater generating lava flows on the surface of the crater floor. The activity is confined to Halemaʻumaʻu and the hazards will be reassessed as the eruption progresses."

The big picture: Kīlauea is one of the world's most active volcanoes and from 1983 to 2018 eruptive activity was nearly continuous along its east rift zone, per the USGS.

  • Its last eruption that began in September 2021 continued into December 2022.
  • Mauna Loa, the world's largest active volcano, erupted last November for the first time since 1984 and for some two weeks Hawaii had two volcanoes simultaneously spewing lava. The USGS declared last month that both volcanoes had stopped erupting.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with additional details throughout.

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