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The Hawaiian name "Mauna Loa" means "Long Mountain," it extends from southern tip of the island to the summit caldera and then east-northeast to the coastline near Hilo. Gradually rising to more than 4 km above sea level, Mauna Loa is the largest volcano on our planet. The way Mauna Loa was formed is what makes it such a big mountain. This enormous volcano covers half of the Island of Hawaii. About 85 percent of all the other Hawaiian Island combined. Mauna Loa is Earths most active volcanoes. Mauna Loa has erupted 33 times since its first well-documented historical eruption in 1843. The most recent eruption was in 1984. It's certain to erupt again and it's carefully monitored for signs of unrest. Estimated age of first eruption was between 1,000,000 and 7,000,000 years before present. Mauna Loa is in the Shield-forming stage.

19.475 N 155.608 W
Elev. Above Sea Level
4,170 m
13,680 ft
5,271 km2
2,035 mi2
(50.5% of Hawaii)
80,000 km3
19,000 mi3


Since Mauna Loa’s discovery scientists have discovered 11 underwater radial vents on the western flank of Mauna Loa. They say present potential hazards from undersea volcanic explosions take place. At this point in time, there has been no significant movement detected and the sensors have detected out gassing with no significant temperature increases. Scientists have been recording from 1 to 40 earthquakes within Mauna Loa per week, which does not show an increase yet in activity. It does serve to show that it is still active. Mauna Loa is a big impact on its society. Seismologists agree that the volcano will once again erupt but are only able to give a 2 to 3 hour notice to the surrounding community for evacuation should it decide to erupt. According to seismologists, it could erupt within a year or up to possibly 10 years from now. The evacuation time is very critical because the last time Mauna Loa erupted; it sent molten lava down the slopes at such a quick rate and in such huge mass that it reached the ocean within 3 hours. Anyone who does not evacuate in time will be burned to death. If you do evacuate in time and get as far away as you can u have a better chance of surviving.

The Future

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The future progress of the Mauna Loa is to establish better communications between those directly involved in present or proposed Mauna Loa research, and between Mauna Loa researchers and researches at other volcanoes, so that the knowledge gained at Mauna Loa can be shared with others around the world, and so that we can learn of complementary efforts. We will never be done studying and/or learning about volcanoes because they are a big part of our planet and they have a great impact on what could happen in near or far future. It has been about 25 years since Mauna Loa, Hawaii's most biggest and dangerous volcano has last erupted. Researchers warn that another eruption may be on the horizon. It is nearly impossible to pinpoint the exact date or time the mountain may blow next, but a new technology that scientists now have will help them determine the eruption's location on the slopes of the giant volcano, therefore helping them determine where the lava spew will go. There are very many similar volcanoes like Mauna Loa. It is hard to sum it up because there are so many, but there is no doubt that Mauna Loa is Earth's Largest Volcano.