Alert level raised for Hawaii's Mauna Loa volcano after eruption

The notification warned that the early eruption stages of this volcano can be very dynamic and the location and advance of lava flows can change rapidly.

 The Mauna Loa volcano on the island of Hawaii is shown in this March 25, 1984 handout photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey, and released to Reuters on June 19, 2014. (photo credit: REUTERS/US Geological Survey/Handout via Reuters)
The Mauna Loa volcano on the island of Hawaii is shown in this March 25, 1984 handout photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey, and released to Reuters on June 19, 2014.
(photo credit: REUTERS/US Geological Survey/Handout via Reuters)

An eruption began in the summit caldera of Hawaii's Mauna Loa, the world's largest active volcano, on Sunday night, the US Geological Service's (USGS) volcanic activity service said.

"At this time, lava flows are contained within the summit area and are not threatening downslope communities," the notification said.

However, the notification warned, based on previous events, that the early eruption stages of this volcano can be very dynamic and the location and advance of lava flows can change rapidly.

The volcano alert level was upgraded from an "advisory" to a "warning."

"At this time, lava flows are contained within the summit area and are not threatening downslope communities."

Notification

The notification added that the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) would conduct aerial reconnaissance as soon as possible to assess hazards and better describe the eruption.

 The Mauna Loa volcano on the island of Hawaii is shown in this 1975 handout photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey, and released to Reuters on June 19, 2014. (credit: REUTERS/US Geological Survey/Handout via Reuters) The Mauna Loa volcano on the island of Hawaii is shown in this 1975 handout photo provided by the U.S. Geological Survey, and released to Reuters on June 19, 2014. (credit: REUTERS/US Geological Survey/Handout via Reuters)

Earthquakes as well

Over a dozen earthquakes of more than 2.5 magnitude struck the region in the last two hours, according to the USGS, with one measuring 4.2 in magnitude.

Mauna Loa, which takes up more than half of the Big Island in Hawaii, and rises 13,679 feet (4,169 meters) above the Pacific Ocean, last erupted in March and April of 1984, sending a flow of lava within 5 miles (8.05 km) of the city of Hilo.