This week, Hawaii has witnessed a rare sight of a simultaneous double volcanic eruption. On Tuesday, Mauna Loa, the world’s largest active volcano erupted. This is the first time the volcano has erupted in over 38 years.
At the same time, the Kilauea volcano in its neighbourhood has been gushing out lava for more than a year now. With two new streams of lava seen gushing from Mauna Loa, it is the first time in history that two adjacent volcanoes have been recorded erupting.
The US Geological Survey confirmed the eruption of the Mauna Loa in a Tweet. Following the eruption, Hawaii Gov. David Ige signed an emergency proclamation on Tuesday. The proclamation now allows the state to take emergency actions to handle any issues resulting from the volcanoes. Such actions may include issuing warnings, evacuations and control of people among others.
The Mauna Loa is just 21 miles apart from the Kilauea, which has been erupting for more than a year. The two volcanoes are both active but have not erupted simultaneously since 1984.
The two volcanoes are quite a good distance from nearby residences. Officials said Tuesday that at the moment, neither of the volcanoes is threatening life. However, there are fears of worsening atmospheric conditions.
The event is expected to attract more visitors since double eruptions are rare. The national park said that it is expecting to handle more visitors on than usual due to the rare occurrence. At the moment, the park is still operational.
Officials are keeping a careful eye on the site to monitor any developments. According to geological experts, the lava flow from the new eruptions could just be the beginning.
“Based on past events, the early stages of a Mauna Loa rift zone eruption can be very dynamic, and the location and advance of lava flows can change rapidly,” the geological survey said in a Monday update.
There is no immediate risk to the locals. Even so, the Hawaii National Guard is prepared to take any action necessary. The Emergency Operations Agency has already activated its emergency centres.
The park management has however expressed concerns about the path of the lava. The officials are worried that, if the lava turns away and flows to the Puʻu Makaʻala Natural Area Reserve, it could cause damage. The officials have invested years in restoring the landscape following past eruptions.