Mauna Loa, which is dwarfed only by Tamu Massif, a massive a seamount perched in the northwest Pacific Ocean just 1,600km east of Japan, had magma lying just beneath the surface since its last eruption in 1984.
Early warnings about the potential eruption began to give way this summer, when the US Geological Survery (USGS) began reporting an uptick in seismic activity at the Hawaiian Big Island volcano in the months between August and October.
No communities or property in the surrounding area are currently under threat, officials have maintained in all of their updates posted since early Tuesday morning. But, they noted that the air quality for the public residing downwind of the volcano could be hazardous due to the presence of vog, ash in the air, and rising levels of sulphur dioxide.
Shortly after the 11.30pm eruption on the state’s Big Island, pictures of the eruption had begun flooding social media with the USGS reporting that the event had triggered dozens of earthquakes of more than 2.5 magnitudes on the Richter scale, with one of them clocking in at 4.2.
Here is a roundup of some of the best pictures that capture the stunning fountains of lava that began spewing from the volcano earlier this week. Some were captured by USGS webcams at the summit, while others show the plumes of amber-looking smoke rising into the sky above.
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