Mauna Loa Lava Flows – More Powerful Than Kilauea
Located on the island of Hawaii, the Mauna Loa volcano is considered to be the largest subaerial volcano in the world in terms of both volume and mass. It is one of the five volcanoes that make up the Hawaiian island chain.
Lava flows can be more intense than those at Kilauea
Almost 40 years after the last eruption of Mauna Loa, lava flowed out of the volcano on Sunday night. Hawaiian Volcano Observatory officials said the lava flows are more powerful than those seen at Kilauea, and that a rift zone may be involved in the eruption.
Several lava flows are feeding from fissures in the volcano. These fissures are located near the volcano’s caldera, just off the summit of the volcano.
The volcano began to show signs of increased seismic activity in September. An observer in a helicopter reported that magma reached the surface, signaling the beginning of a new stage of activity.
The US Geological Survey reported that the eruption is producing 200-foot lava fountains. Most Mauna Loa lava fountains were a few yards high. The flow is not threatening downslope communities. The US National Park Service said the main section of the park remains open.
Lava flows are usually rapid and can change location and advance rapidly. Usually lava flows creep ahead a few feet every hour or so. Occasionally, they advance several miles in a day.
The lava flows are releasing volcanic gases that may cause people to have coughing fits. The gases are mostly sulfur dioxide. The gases are also causing headaches and burning eyes. The National Weather Service is advising people to be mindful of low air quality.
The lava flow is expected to continue flowing downhill, and may reach areas in the future. The National Guard has been activated to monitor the area. Hawaii County officials have advised against mandatory evacuations. They also suggested that schools remain open.
The lava flow’s current path is predicted to affect “the Saddle” area. That area is above 10,000 feet, and the flow will reach the area in a week. The US Geological Survey reports that the flow is moving at 35 miles an hour.
The lava flow is also releasing volcanic glass, or “Pele’s Hair.” This is the name of the goddess of volcanoes. Glass particles are sharp and long, and can be formed in hot lava. They can look like hair strands.
Lava flows can move rapidly downslope
During a previous eruption, lava flows traveled down the Mauna Loa slopes and reached the city of Hilo, Hawaii’s largest city. Lava flows are known to move fast and change rapidly.
Mauna Loa is a volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii that last erupted in 1984. It is considered to be the world’s largest active volcano. The lava flows came within four miles of the city of Hilo and went 24 kilometers to the ocean.
Mauna Loa is part of the larger Mokuaweoweo caldera, which is located inside Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. The volcano has erupted 33 times since 1843. It last erupted in March-April 1984, and lava flows traveled as far as 15 miles to the ocean.
Lava flows can be dangerous because of ash fall. Volcanic ash can contaminate water supplies and irritate the eyes and lungs. It can also damage vehicles. It can also interfere with electrical systems. Fortunately, the National Weather Service has issued an ashfall advisory for the island through Monday.
Hawaii County Civil Defense has notified residents that they should prepare for the potential of lava flows. The civil defense agency has held meetings across the island and recommends residents take precautions. They should prepare a “go bag” with food and supplies. The agency also urges people to not panic.
Mauna Loa typically erupts lava at high rates. However, the USGS has said that there is no indication that lava will move down into the rift zone. Rather, the lava is flowing down the northeast side of the volcano.
The USGS has also warned that there is still ongoing earthquake activity at the volcano. The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) will continue to monitor the volcano closely. They will also conduct aerial reconnaissance.
Mauna Loa has erupted 33 times since 1843. The eruptions have lasted as long as 22 days. The last eruption occurred in March-April 1984, and sent lava flows down the slopes and into Hilo. Approximately 200,000 people were affected by that eruption.
Unlike Kilauea volcano, Mauna Loa has not erupted since 1984. Mauna Loa is one of the largest volcanoes in the world and towers over the other Big Island volcanoes.
Symptoms of a Mauna Loa eruption
Symptoms of a Mauna Loa eruption are expected to include lava flows, explosive events and volcanic gas emissions. In addition, residents should be aware that the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory may restrict access to the summit of the volcano.
In recent months, Hawaii’s Mauna Loa has been showing signs of unrest. A number of small earthquakes were detected at the summit. These earthquakes are often related to reservoir expansion. They can generate landslides and local tsunamis.
Mauna Loa is an active volcano that rises 13,679 feet above the Pacific Ocean. It is part of the chain of volcanoes that formed Hawaii and It is the largest active volcano on the planet and also It last erupted in March and April 1984. It is considered to be relatively unstable, causing eruptions to happen at a very high rate.
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) has been monitoring Mauna Loa for more than two years. The observatory has been monitoring earthquake activity as well. In late October, CNN reported that there had been a significant increase in seismic activity at the summit. This could be a sign of a future eruption.
According to HVO officials, the eruption is not threatening the populated areas of Hawaii. The lava flows are moving down the northeast side of the volcano, but have not reached downslope communities.
The eruption has already triggered several earthquakes. Several smaller earthquakes have been measured, including a 4.2-magnitude earthquake. According to HVO officials, the magma is flowing from a rift in the volcano. The rift is where the mountain is splitting apart.
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory is monitoring the eruption, and is trying to figure out where it will go next. The lava flows may travel along the rift zone. If they do, residents should prepare for evacuations. The National Guard is on standby.
Residents of communities on the downslope side of the volcano should also prepare for a potential evacuation. The eruption may also carry volcanic gas downwind. This is a potential hazard to those with respiratory problems. Those who have respiratory problems should monitor their breathing and stay indoors if possible during an eruption.
Lessons from past eruptions
Despite its history of eruptions, Mauna Loa has not posed a threat to the communities of nearby islands. It is considered the largest active volcano in the world. However, it is important for Hawaiians to be prepared for future eruptions.
Mauna Loa is part of a chain of volcanoes that formed Hawaii. It rises over 4,169 feet above sea level and over five kilometers above the north central Pacific seafloor and It has erupted more than 30 times since its first documented historical eruption in 1843. It is also considered the most voluminous volcano in the world.
Mauna Loa last erupted in March and April of 1984. The eruption affected 40 percent of the Big Island. The eruption was the largest in the island’s history. It also destroyed 4,000 acres of land and left 77 people dead in landslides.
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory is in charge of monitoring Mauna Loa. The agency has upgraded its monitoring capabilities since the 1984 eruption. It has a network of webcams in remote areas that provide near-real-time images. This is valuable for evaluating eruption timing.
In the past, Mauna Loa has erupted from the summit caldera. However, it is also possible that the eruption will take place from the rift zone. This could lead to lava flows moving down the slope of the mountain.
Hawaii’s civil defense agency has held meetings throughout the island to prepare residents. The agency has also opened two shelters on the island. The Old Kona Airport shelter is open in Kailua-Kona, and the Kau Gymnasium shelter is open in Pahala.
The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency has activated an emergency operations center at 1 a.m. and is preparing for a possible eruption. The agency is working with the Hawaii National Guard to ensure safety. Those with breathing problems should leave the area. It is possible for lava flows to enter residential areas. The US Geological Survey has warned residents of volcanic gases.
Hawaii’s mayor issued an emergency proclamation and urged residents to be prepared. He also urged people to stay informed. The Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency is also monitoring the eruption.
During the past 4,000 years, most of Mauna Loa’s surface has been covered by lava flows. The lava flows have been produced by a number of past eruptions, including three from the summit, three from the southwest rift zone, and two from the Ninole Hills. The Ninole Hills are flat-topped, heavily vegetated ridges located on the southeastern flank of Mauna Loa.
Mauna Loa’s most recent eruption occurred from March 24 to April 15, 1984. A curtain of fire lit up the clouds and illuminated the black profile of the volcano. The lava flow from the summit area moved eastward towards the city of Hilo. The eruption was followed by several large landslides that shifted the slope of the Southwest Rift Zone. These land slides helped shape the southern embankment of the coast.
The first quake was at 4.6 magnitude. A second quake was 5.1 magnitude. These quakes were detected at depths of 13.4 km and 5.1 km, respectively. The quake rate under Mauna Loa increased to two to three quakes per minute. The rate was slowed as active flow fronts retreated near vents. The largest quake occurred at depth of 7.4 km.
A number of landslides and lava flows produced by past eruptions traveled south and eastward along the submarine flanks of Mauna Loa. These land slides and flows contributed to the shaping of the steep west-facing scarp of the submerged Southwest Rift Zone. The flows produced a river of lava that flowed 12 km northeast toward the city of Hilo. The flows did not cover the entire volcano evenly, but the flow was not as far away from Hilo as it had been in earlier eruptions.
Mauna Loa’s rift zones are highly active. These rift zones are areas where the volcano is splitting apart. Geologists have identified a general pattern of lava flows spreading from the rift zones. The flows are produced by radial vents. The radial vents are located on the north and west flanks of the volcano. There are 33 vents. During the past 150 years, the lava flows produced by Mauna Loa have covered 276 square miles of Hawaii Island.
Mauna Loa has been in a state of unrest for the past several years. The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory has been monitoring the volcano for signs of instability. The eruptions typically begin in the summit crater, but have also occurred from radial vents. The lava flows are silica-poor and tend to be non-explosive.
According to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Mauna Loa is currently at an elevated alert level. In an effort to prepare for a possible eruption, the United States Geological Survey has held several information meetings. The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency has also issued a warning to residents. The Hawaii Department of Education will continue to monitor the volcano every day.