After some of the most difficult months that many around the world have ever faced, Mother Nature saved one last act before the world officially turns the page on 2020.
On Sunday night, the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island erupted, sending plumes of smoke and lava fountains up into the air.
The eruption, which was reported by the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO), happened around 9:30 p.m. local time on Sunday night at the Halema’uma’u crater on the volcano. It didn’t cause any widespread threats or force evacuations to the area around the volcano, though residents have been warned to “be prepared” as the situation is “rapidly evolving” as many close to the site felt the eruption.
In a statement on its website, the HVO said that it had recorded a 4.4 magnitude earthquake beneath the volcano on Sunday night. The quake cause “weak to light shaking” across the Big Island, small enough not to cause significant damage to buildings or structures, but strong enough that the HVO had received over 500 reports of shaking within the first hour of the earthquake.
Multiple fissures opening on the walls of the Halema’uma’u crater have been recorded, with lava cascading into the summit water lake and boiling off the water, forming a new lava lake at the base of the crater. All lava was contained with the crater, according to the HVO, and while there is a possibility of ash falling onto some areas of the island, and aviators have been warned to avoid the area, residents are expected to be largely unaffected.
Authorities are reportedly closely monitoring the situation.