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Hawaii’s Mauna Loa, the largest active volcano in the world, begins erupting

Steve Prorak / EyeEm/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) — Ash and lava have begun spewing out of the Mauna Loa volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island — the largest active volcano in the world.

The activity, which began Sunday and continued into Monday morning, is the first eruption from Mauna Loa in nearly 40 years.

The lava was contained to the summit, and there are currently no threats to populated areas, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. However, lava flows are significant enough to be visible from Kona, dozens of miles away.

Mauna Loa is so large it takes up more than half of the Big Island. The last time it erupted was in March and April 1984.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has closed the Mauna Loa Summit Area to visitors as a precaution.

Video posted to Twitter by the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory shows thermal footage of the lava flowing out of the volcano’s summit.

In conjunction with the lava flow, were more than a dozen earthquakes in the region of more than 2.5 magnitude early Monday morning, according to the USGS.

Lava was still erupting from the summit and was overflowing from the caldera as of 5 a.m. local time, according to USGS Volcanoes. The National Weather Service issued an ashfall advisory for depositing ash and debris, as well as light accumulation of ash on vessels, until 6 a.m. along the Alenuihaha Channel, Big Island windward waters, Big Island leeward waters and Big Island southeast waters.

The NWS advised that vessels should remain at port or avoid advisory areas, and those with respiratory sensitivities should take extra precautions to minimize exposure.

Falling volcanic ash and debris can also render engines or electronics inoperative, according to the NWS.

Hawaii is home to several active volcanos, including the Kīlauea volcano on the Big Island, one of the most active in the world.

Volcano activity has been recorded all around the globe over the past year.

Major eruptions could be underway from two volcanoes on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula after clouds of ash and lava began spewing on Nov. 20.

In July, an eruption at the Sakurajima volcano in Japan prompted evacuation orders for residents nearby in the southwestern prefecture of Kagoshima.

And last week, marine geologists announced that the underwater volcano eruption that occurred on Jan. 15 in the Tongan archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean is the largest ever recorded.

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