(TheRedWire.com) – The United States is home to an astounding 161 potentially active volcanoes. One is currently in the process of displaying its awesome and terrifying power. The US Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) watches six active volcanoes that stretch across Hawaii’s landscape.
Kilauea volcano is the most active one in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. HVO says the 4,000-foot summit contained a cooling lava lake in its gigantic crater before recent activity kicked up the heat in the lava pit. Kilauea is the state’s youngest volcano and is one of the world’s most active. Between 1912 and 2012, Kilauea erupted nearly 50 times. Mount Kea is Hawaii’s largest volcano at 13,303 feet high. Its last eruption was 4,600 years ago.
Is the Volcano Dangerous to Nearby Residents?
The US Geological Survey raised Kilauea’s alert from watch to warning. The agency that monitors volcanoes believes a hazardous eruption is likely, imminent, or already occurring. The agency also raised the aviation color code orange to red. Officials make the warning change when a volcanic eruption is imminent, and the emission of volcanic ash into the atmosphere will happen or is already underway. Volcano ash can significantly harm aircraft engines and jeopardize flight safety.
On Wednesday, September 30, Kilauea sent up fiery fountains of hot lava after a month of silence. Some of the lava reached 100 feet high before it came careening back down to the floor of the volcano’s crater. VHO officials say there is no danger to buildings and communities and is not currently a threat otherwise. The biggest threat to this point is volcanic gas.
In 2018, that wasn’t the case. Kilauea became the most destructive volcano in modern history. It forever changed the landscape of the area around it. To describe the devastation to local communities, scientists say Kilauea created so much lava, it could cover two lanes of Interstate 90 from Boston to Seattle, at a thickness of 70 feet high.
Kilauea Entices Tourists
The spectacle is providing some much-needed relief for COVID weary residents. Thousands of people showed up at Volcanoes National Park at the southern end of the island to witness mother nature display her awesome power. The park remains open, but the US Geological Service says visitors should be aware conditions can change at a moment’s notice and could impact viewing and accessibility to the park.
It’s unknown how long the eruption will last. However, officials say the Kilauea flare-ups in the caldera typically last less than a year.
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