Hawaii's Kilauea volcano erupted for the third time in 2023 but did not immediately pose a threat to downslope communities. Photo courtesy of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Service
Sept. 11 (UPI) -- Hawaii's Kilauea volcano erupted for the third time this year, firing streams of lava from its summit crater Sunday afternoon.
The U.S. Geological Survey elevated the volcano's alert level to warning after the eruption came at the end of a string of increasing seismic activity. Authorities said, though, the eruption posed no immediate threat to downslope communities.
The eruption began about 3:15 p.m. local time on Sunday, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.
"At this time, lava at Kilauea is confined to the summit and does not pose a lava threat to communities," the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency said in a social media post. "However, eruptions emit volcanic particles and gases which may create breathing problems for people exposed."
The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Service posted photos of spewing lava after the eruption.
"Kilauea began erupting this afternoon, serving as a solemn reminder of the sacredness ingrained in this landscape," the park service said. "The privilege to witness the creative forces of a new eruption comes with a responsibility to approach this place with reverence.
Geologists from the observatory said the fountains from the Halema'uma'u crater were about 165 feet with its fissures stretching more than 4,400 feet to the northeast. The observatory said that while all the activity has remained in the national park, they will soon reassess the eruption's progress.
In June, the volcano's eruption led the observatory to issue a Code Yellow and then a Code Red alert. A Code Red alert is issued when an eruption with significant ash is imminent or occurring.
On Jan. 6, Kilauea erupted nearly a month after volcanic activity on the mountain had ceased. Officials issued a Code Red alert for the area at that time as well. Webcam imagery then found fissures at the base of the crater generating lava flows on the surface of the crater floor.