(CMR) Mauna Loa, the world's largest active volcano, has erupted in Hawaii for the first time in nearly four decades, officials said. It erupted at 11:30 p.m. local time Sunday (4:30 a.m. ET Monday), the U.S. Geological Survey said. According to its Hawaii Volcano Observatory daily update, this is the first eruption since 1984.
The eruption began in Moku‘āweoweo, the summit caldera of Mauna Loa, inside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the agency said, as it upgraded the volcano's alert level from an “advisory” to a “warning.”
“At this time, lava flows are contained within the summit area and are not threatening downslope communities,” the USGS said in its alert notice. It also noted that “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.”
Mauna Loa's Hawaiian name means “long mountain,” as the vast mountain extends roughly 74 miles from its edge along Hawai'i Island's southern coast to the rim of the caldera where the eruption began on Sunday.
The eruption comes after a series of warnings that an eruption was possible after several recent earthquakes in the region, including over a dozen tremors measured at more than 2.5 magnitude on Sunday.