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Kīlauea volcano: Watch live footage of the eruption in Hawaii

Hawaii’s most active volcano has erupted, jetting molten rock 9 metres into the air and spewing volcanic gas and ash across the island. The eruption of the Kīlauea volcano is the first since lava activity stopped in December last year.

Kīlauea is the most active of the five volcanoes that make up the island of Hawaii and also one of the most active in the world. It formed more than 200,000 years ago and breached sea level around 100,000 years ago. The volcano has erupted frequently since, destroying a lake and several homes in recent years.

Officials say that high levels of volcanic gas are now the main risk, as it can have far-reaching effects downwind. Emissions of sulphur dioxide were measured at around 65,000 tonnes per day on the morning of 7 June and residents of Pāhala, which is 30 kilometres downwind of Kīlauea’s summit, reported a very light dusting of gritty, fine ash.

But Hawaii Volcanoes National Park spokesperson Jessica Ferracane said in a statement that there is no immediate risk to residents of the island from lava flows. “The lava this morning is all confined within… the summit caldera. So, plenty of room for it still to produce more without threatening any homes or infrastructure,” she said. “So that’s the way we like our eruptions here.”

Read more: Tonga volcano eruption disrupted satellites halfway around the world

Increased seismic activity on the volcano had been detected on Tuesday and the US Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory detected a glow in webcam images of the volcano at 4.44am Pacific time on 7 June, indicative of lava having breached the surface. Staff later confirmed that an eruption had begun in the volcano’s Halemaʻumaʻu crater.

The US Geological Survey said in a statement that multiple “minor fountains” of lava are currently active, spraying molten rock to heights of up to 9 metres, and that the level of the 1.5-square-kilometre crater has already been raised by 10 metres since the eruption. It has issued a “red” warning to aviation, meaning there is a “significant emission of volcanic ash“, which can affect jet engines.

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