Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano erupts, sending smoke into night sky

FAN Editor

Honolulu, Hawaii — The Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island erupted Sunday night, the U.S. Geological Survey said. The volcano is in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and the eruption is in the Halemaumau Crater.

The National Weather Service in Honolulu warned of falling ash from the volcano. Excessive exposure to ash is an eye and respiratory irritant, it said.

In an update on its website, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said the situation is “rapidly evolving” and urged communities on or near Kilauea’s summit and rift zones to “be prepared.”  

“HVO continues to monitor the volcano closely and will report any significant changes,” officials said.  

A magnitude 4.4 earthquake was reported in the area shortly after the eruption began, according to CBS Honolulu affiliate KGMB-TV. Officials said Big Island residents reported “weak to light shaking.”

Photos of the eruption that were shared on verified social media accounts for the national park around 10 p.m. showed a bright orange glow with thick smoke rising into the sky. 

 A view of Halemaumau Crater on night of December 20, 2020 Sunday night as  Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island erupted. USGS Summit Webcam / KGMB-TV

The glow from the eruption could be seen from as far away as the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope at the summit of Mauna Kea, KGMB added.

The U.S. Geological Survey warned air traffic to avoid the area.

Kilauea has been in a state of “non-eruptive unrest” since the end of the 2018 eruption, which destroyed hundreds of homes and covered entire communities, KGMB said. But since September, there have been signs of more activity.

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