Officials said Hawaii's Kilauea volcano began erupting at around 4:30 p.m. Thursday. Photo courtesy of USGS Volcanoes/Twitter
Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Hawaii's Kilauea volcano began erupting Thursday, nearly a month after volcanic activity on the mountain had ceased, officials said.
The U.S. Geological Service said its Hawaiian Volcano Observatory detected glow in Kilauea's summit at 4:34 p.m. HST, indicating that the eruption had resumed within Halemaumau crater.
The agencies jointly elevated Kilauea's volcano alert level from Watch to Warning and its aviation code from Orange to Red due to the eruption and associated hazards, it said.
"The opening phases of eruptions are dynamic," the USGS said. "Webcam imagery shows fissures at the base of Halemaumau crater generating lava flows on the surface of the crater floor.
"The activity is confined to Halemaumau crater and the hazards will be reassessed as the eruption progresses."
Located on Hawaii's largest island within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Kilauea's main hazard of concern is the potential for high levels of volcanic gas as it could have far-reaching affects down wind, officials said.
Other hazards include lightweight volcanic glass fragments that fall downwind of fissure vents and dust.
"Residents should minimize exposure to these volcanic particles," NPS said in a statement.
The eruption comes after Kilauea and Mauna Loa were erupting at the same time last month.
Kilauea began erupting on Sept. 29, 2021, and ceased on Dec. 9, while Mauna Loa began erupting in late November but stopped days after Kilauea ceased volcanic activity.