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Two volcanoes erupt simultaneously in Hawaii for first time in decades: "A very sacred event that we are watching"

Two volcanoes erupt in Mauna Loa
Rare dual eruption from neighboring volcanoes Mauna Loa and Kilauea on Hawaii's Big Island 02:19

Two of Hawaii's largest volcanoes are erupting simultaneously.

Hawaii's Mauna Loa, the world's largest active volcano, erupted for the first time in decades on Sunday night. Nearby, Kilauea is also erupting — both on the archipelago's Big Island. 

Dual eruptions haven't been seen since 1984

"This is a rare time where we have two eruptions happening simultaneously," Jessica Ferracane, a spokesperson for Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, told CBS News. "To the people of Hawaii, this is a very sacred event that we are watching."   

The Kilauea volcano, which is smaller and more active than Mauna Loa, had been erupting since 1983, and in 2018, its lava flows destroyed hundreds of homes on the island. Recently, its eruption activity has been confined to the crater, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. 

Scientists say two new lava flows formed Tuesday on Mauna Loa, which last erupted in 1984. The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (EMA) said Wednesday afternoon that there is "still no immediate threat to populated areas" from the Mauna Loa eruption. According to the EMA, the lava was about 3.5 miles from Saddle Road, which connects the east and west sides of the island.  

Ken Hon, scientist-in-charge at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, said experts are monitoring the lava's movement.  

"It could just as easily shift and start another flow as well and we'll just watch it very, very carefully. We are thinking very, very, much about advances," Hon said. 

Ash and sulfur dioxide from the eruption could negatively affect air quality across the state, the state health department said.

The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park remains open but visitors are urged to check the park website for closure updates, safety alerts, air quality and other information. 

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