‘Spectacular’ Hawaii volcano eruption expected to attract queues of tourists at national park

One visitor spotted 15 lava fountains, which were around 46m high  (Public Domain)
One visitor spotted 15 lava fountains, which were around 46m high (Public Domain)

The eruption of Hawaii’s second-largest volcano is expected to attract long queues of tourists flocking to see this “spectacular” sight.

Active volcano Kilauea is found in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Hawaii’s Big Island, and it began erupting on Wednesday night for the first time in three months.

Images of the “dynamic” scene were captured by the US Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory after a glow was detected on a webcam, signalling the eruption had begun.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park spokesperson Jessica Ferracane confirmed that the park anticipates hordes of tourists queuing for a view of the event.

“Kilauea overlook was spectacular this morning,” she said.

A spokesperson for the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported: “The opening phases of eruptions are dynamic. Webcam imagery shows fissures at the base of HalemaÊ»umaÊ»u crater generating lava flows on the surface of the crater floor.”

A red aviation warning has been issued due to ash spewing out of the volcano, but there isn’t thought to be a risk to the public at the moment.

Observatory geologist Mike Zoeller said: “We’re not seeing any signs of activity out on the rift zones right now.”

The molten red lava lake is 1,300 metres wide and can be seen from several different viewpoints within the park.

“There are several areas of pretty robust fountaining. It’s just really, really pretty,” Ms Ferracane said.

She is anticipating that scores of tourists will arrive at the park, which is open 24 hours a day.

To dodge the crowds, people are encouraged to try and arrive between 9pm and sunrise, but visitors must stay on marked trails for safety purposes and to avoid coming into contact with the volcano’s gases as it erupts.

Volunteer park photographer, Janice Wei, caught a glimpse of the scene early in the morning of 8 June. She said she saw roughly 15 lava fountains, which were around 46 metres high.

Kilauea last began erupting in January and continued for 61 days until it ended in March.

Meanwhile, in November last year, visitors to the park were able to spot lava from the world’s largest volcano, Mauna Loa, alongside Kilauea’s lava lake.