Updated Sep 11, 2023 - Science

Hawai'i's Kīlauea volcano erupts for 3rd time this year

A satellite image of Hawai'i's Kīlauea volcano erupting on Sunday.

Hawai'i's Kīlauea volcano erupting on Sunday. Screenshot: USGS

Kīlauea volcano on Hawai'i's Big Island began erupting Sunday, prompting the U.S. Geological Survey to raise the volcanic alert level from "watch" to "warning."

State of play: The USGS downgraded the alert level to "watch" on Monday, but Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park Service announced that the Keanakākoʻi viewing area was closed "due to unsafe air quality" from the eruption of Kīlauea — one of the world's most active volcanoes.

A screenshot of a Hawaii Volcanoes NPS tweet showing the Kilauea volcano erupting, with the comment: "The Keanakākoʻi viewing area is closed due to unsafe air quality. That big plume contains sulfur dioxide, other gases and shards of volcanic glass that pose a significant risk to anyone.   Stay safe and stay out of closed areas."
Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park Service/X.

Zoom in: The USGS said in a statement Sunday that the eruption at the Halemaʻumaʻu crater was generating lava flows.

  • Local authorities said nearby communities were not in immediate danger from the third eruption of the Kīlauea volcano this year, which the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory noted began about 3:15pm Sunday local time.
  • "HVO will continue to monitor this activity closely and report any significant changes in future notices," the USGS said.

Flashback: The last eruption on Kīlauea, Hawai'i's second-largest volcano, occurred in June.

A screenshot of a Hawaii Emergency Management Agency tweet showing a screenshot of Kilauea Volcano erupting with the comment: "At this time, lava at Kilauea is confined to the summit and does not pose a lava threat to communities. However, eruptions emit volcanic particles and gases which may create breathing problems for people exposed. Follow guidance from  @Volcanoes_NPS  staff if you are in the area."
Photo: Hawaii Emergency Management Agency/X

Go deeper: Lava from 2018 Kīlauea eruption added a mile to Hawai'i's coastline

Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect the USGS Kīlauea alert level dropping to "watch" on Monday.

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