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New aerial video captures eruption of world’s largest active volcano, Mauna Loa, in Hawaii

A new aerial video shows the eruption of Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano, which began late Sunday after a series of large earthquakes, officials said.

The video, captured by helicopter, shows the volcano spewing fountains of lava, which stretch across its surface, as clouds of smoke rise above.

The eruption, which marked the first since 1984, continued late Tuesday, the U.S. Geological Survey said in its most recent update, which added that the largest lava fountains on the volcano were up to 131 – 164 feet tall.

Officials earlier said the lava flows were “contained within the summit area and are not threatening downslope communities.”

“No property is at risk currently,” the most recent update said.

Officials have prepared, though, to close a portion of the nearby Daniel K. Inouye Highway if lava approaches the area, which would have a major impact on local infrastructure, NBC affiliate KHNL of Hawaii reported. The lava flow earlier cut off access to a key climate monitoring station, according to KHNL.

The eruption followed weeks of warnings from officials that a blast was imminent following a spike in earthquakes at the volcano’s summit and that Big Island residents should be prepared to evacuate if necessary, KHNL reported.

Officials have said the eruption threatens air quality, which could be hazardous for local residents with respiratory issues, KHNL reported.

Corky Siemaszko contributed.

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