World’s biggest active volcano Mauna Loa erupts in Hawaii

Mauna Loa, the world’s largest active volcano, has erupted for the first time in 38 years.

Dramatic US Geological Survey footage captured lava flows spewing at the northwest rim of the Hawaiian volcano.

It comes more than 38 years after the shield volcano last erupted.

The volcano alert level has since been upgraded from “advisory” to a “warning”, The US Sun reported.

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Officials have said that the eruption isn’t likely to threaten communities at this stage.

But, they warned: “Based on past events, the early stages of a Mauna Loa eruption can be very dynamic and the location and advance of lava flows can change rapidly.

“If the eruption remains in Moku’āweoweo, lava flows will most likely be confined within the caldera walls.

“However, if the eruptive vents migrate outside its walls, lava flows may move rapidly downslope.”

More than a dozen earthquakes were recorded within two hours.

One measured 4.2 magnitude, according to the USGS.

There is a risk that wind could carry volcanic gases and ash.

Officials have not yet requested any evacuations but locals are being urged to review preparedness plans, according to Hawaii News Now.

Authorities previously told residents to plan for the worst, including preparing a “go” bag with food and water, deciding on a safe place to take shelter, and meeting up with close ones.

The administrator for Hawaii County Civil Defense, Talmadge Magno, meanwhile, told families to remain vigilant.

He said: “Not to panic everybody, but they have to be aware of that you live on the slopes of Mauna Loa. There’s a potential for some kind of lava disaster.”

Resident Laura Roberts told Newsweek: “Here in Ocean View, [Mauna Loa’s] lava could reach the ocean in less than three hours and our homes faster than that.

“We are on the rift zone so fissures could open [here]. It’s a weird feeling to know that there is a possibility of losing your home.”

Mauna Loa is a shield volcano and has relatively gentle slopes.

Shield volcanoes produce Balsaltic lava and eruptions tend to be frequent but gentle.

When the volcano, which sits at 13,679ft (4,169m) above sea level, erupted in 1950, it took just three hours for the lava to meet the Kona Coast about 30 miles away.

This story was originally published by The US Sun and was reproduced with permission

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