MAUNA Loa, the world’s largest active volcano, has erupted for the first time in nearly 40 years.
The historic activity, not seen since 1984, has triggered dozens of earthquakes and raised fears of ash fall.
The flare-up, which occurred at 11:30 p.m. local time on November 27, came after the volcano had reportedly been in a state of “enhanced arrest” since September.
Dramatic footage from the US Geological Survey has captured lava on the northwestern rim of the Hawaiian volcano.
The volcano alert level has since been upgraded from advisory to warning.
Parts of Hawaii have been placed under an ashfall warning issued by the National Weather Service in Honolulu.
Meteorologists fear up to an inch of ash could accumulate in some areas.
Officials have said the outbreak is unlikely to threaten communities at this point.
However, they cautioned: “Based on past events, the early stages of a Mauna Loa eruption can be very dynamic, and the location and encroachment of lava flows can change rapidly.”
“If the eruption stays in Moku’āweoweo, lava flows will most likely be trapped within the caldera walls.
“However, if the vents migrate outside their walls, lava flows can move rapidly down the slope.”
One of the five volcanoes that make up Hawaii, Mauna Loa has a history dating back more than 700,000 years.
The volcano has erupted 33 times since 1843, but there have only been three blasts since 1950.
The Sun takes a look back at the history of Mauna Loa’s eruptions that rocked the Aloha State.
Mauna Loa last erupted in the early hours of March 25, 1984.
The volcano erupted just months after a magnitude 6.6 earthquake was recorded beneath its southern flank.
According to the National Park Service, residents had spotted an orange glow over the volcano before the lava created what appeared to be a curtain of fire.
The lava fountains were about a mile long and reached heights of more than 160 feet.
It crept closer to the city of Hilo just days later, moving around 16 miles in just four days.
The outbreak lasted several weeks and was only officially declared over on April 15th.
Volcanologists revealed at the time that the mountain’s gentle slopes, dense vegetation and low temperature of the lava helped stem its flow toward the cities.
When Mauna Loa erupted in 1950, 376 million cubic meters of lava were produced.
A magnitude 6.6 earthquake was recorded just two days before the blast.
It took only three hours for the lava to hit the Kona coast about 30 miles away.
And a mushroom cloud full of volcanic gases was sent some 10,000 feet high over the volcano’s summit.
One of the rift systems that formed — known as the Honokua River — was so powerful that it obliterated a gas station, post office, and several homes.
And the second stream, called Ka’ohe, devastated houses and a coconut grove near the sea.
More than two dozen buildings were destroyed in the eruption, but remarkably no one was killed.
At least 77 people were killed after the historic 1868 eruption, when it triggered landslides and a tsunami.
A plume of smoke could be seen ahead of the blast before dozens of tremors were reported in a series of warning signs.
According to the National Park Service, experts estimate that there were up to 300 tremors per day.
The magnitude of the quake was relatively small, but a magnitude of 7.9 struck Hawaii on April 2, 1868.
Buildings in Waiohinu were destroyed while landslides were seen in Waipio.
Reverend Titus Coan wrote: “The falling of walls and chimneys, the swaying of trees, the trembling of bushes, the terror of man and beast, created scenes of terror such as had never before been seen throughout the southern half of Hawaii. ”
Hundreds of shocks have been reported in Ka’u, reportedly leaving locals feeling seasick.
Politician Frederick S. Lyman said: “It was impossible to stand; We had to sit on the floor and use our hands and feet to keep from tipping over.”
The coast was battered by waves reaching heights of more than 20 feet.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6784523/mauna-loa-eruptions-active-volcano-history-hawaii/ Inside Mauna Loa’s worst eruptions as the world’s largest active volcano erupts for the first time in nearly 40 years