Erupting Hawaii volcano’s alert level is lowered to ‘watch’

HONOLULU (AP) — U.S. Geological Survey officials have lowered the alert level for a Hawaii volcano. They say they expect its latest eruption that began last week to remain confined to the summit of Kilauea volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Officials say that over the past several days, a thick layer of molten lava has accumulated as a lava lake at the base of the crater. The lava partially drowned vents, which resulted in subdued fountaining.

Observatory officials lowered the alert level to “watch” and the aviation code to orange. They say that reflects "the less-hazardous nature of the ongoing eruption.”

On September 30, one of the most active volcanos on Earth was erupting on Hawaii’s Big Island. Officials with the U.S. Geological Survey confirmed Wednesday that an eruption begun in Kilauea volcano’s Halemaumau crater at the volcano’s summit. The eruption was not in an area with homes and at the time, was entirely contained within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Officials say increased earthquake activity and ground swelling had been detected, and at that time raised the alert levels accordingly.

Kilauea had a major eruption in 2018 that destroyed scores of homes and displaced thousands of residents. Webcam footage of the crater showed lava fountains covering the floor of the crater.