Hawaii’s Mauna loa volcano erupts for the first time since 1984 


The world’s largest active volcano, Mauna Loa in Hawaii, erupted Sunday night from its peak on Monday wee hours, according to the US Geological Survey. Officials said the lava was not likely to threaten populated areas.

According to the USGS, Mauna Loa has erupted 33 times since 1843. It last erupted in 1984, when lava flowed down its slopes and got as close to Hilo as 4.5 miles. Though lava is streaming down one side of the volcano, the US Geological Survey reported midday Monday that the eruption in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is not threatening settlements.

Mauna Loa

Mauna Loa, which means “long mountain,” is classified as a shield volcano because it is much wider than it is tall. According to the National Park Service, Mauna Loa accounts for approximately 51% of the Big Island and rises 13,679 feet above sea level and approximately 30,000 feet above the sea floor.

Mauna Loa, which occupies more than half of Hawaii’s Big Island and rises 13,679 feet (4,169 metres) above the Pacific Ocean, last erupted in March and April 1984, sending a lava flow within 5 miles (8.05 kilometers) of Hilo.

An increase in earthquake activity near Mauna Loa that began in late September suggested that the volcano was about to erupt. The frequency of swarms of weak quakes increased from roughly 20 per day to 40 to 50 per day. According to the USGS, there were as many as 100 a day on a number of occasions.

Hawaiian eruptions are generally random events with no discernible pattern; that is, future eruptions are relatively independent of the date of the last eruption. The volcanoes’ ages are progressively younger toward the southeast, and the chain’s curve separates the older Emperor Seamount Chain from the younger Hawaiian Ridge. Klauea and Mauna Loa are the two most active volcanoes on the Island of Hawai’i, the youngest of the main Hawaiian Islands, with periodic eruptions.

Hawaii Mauna loa volcano facts

Mauna Loa has a high rate of lava eruption, which can be especially dangerous when it descends the volcano’s steep slopes. According to the US Geological Survey, it can produce “fast-moving and long-traveled lava flows” that necessitate a “rapid response.”


Winds may also bring volcanic gas and fine ash downwind to surrounding communities.

According to the USGS, “Based on past events, the early stages of a Mauna Loa eruption can be very dynamic, and the location and advance of lava flows can change rapidly.” 

The Hawaii Volcano Observatory has received reports of lava rushing into the southwest portion of the volcano’s caldera, or crater, late Monday morning, according to the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.

Mauna Loa

The agency said that there is no sign of a threat to adjacent towns and that no evacuation orders have been issued. Two shelters have been opened as a precaution, despite the fact that “approximately half” of documented Mauna Loa eruptions have remained on the summit area without impacting populated areas, according to another agency tweet.

The volcano alert status was raised from “advisory” to “warning.”

No Evacuations

While some residents left their homes voluntarily there were no evacuations ordered by the government. Furthermore, according to the officials, no travel plans were cancelled to Hawaii Island.

According to the weather service, ashfall can harm automobiles and buildings, taint water supplies, disrupt sewage and electrical systems, and damage or kill plants, while abrasive volcanic ash can irritate eyes and lungs. The GOES-West satellite of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration captured bursts of heat and Sulphur dioxide during the eruption.


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Maham Aamir

An undergrad student at IBA Karachi.
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