Mauna Loa Facts

No other mountain in the world has a larger base or reaches higher into the sky than Mauna Loa, an active volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii. It’s also one of Earth’s most studied mountains, hosting research facilities that have been collecting data since 1912.

Here are some interesting facts about this volcano you might not know:

Mauna Loa Facts for Kids

  • The volcano is located in the Hawaiian Islands
  • Mauna Loa is the largest volcano in the world.
  • It is a shield volcano
  • It has erupted at least 34 times since 1843. 
  • Its last eruption was in 1984
  • It is considered active, and it is still producing lava.

What is a Volcano

A volcano is an opening or rupture in the Earth’s crust, which allows hot molten rock, gases, and ash to escape from a magma chamber below the surface. The magma from volcanoes can create large amounts of lava, which can lead to devastating eruptions.

Volcanoes are a natural disaster that unfortunately cannot be avoided, but they are well understood scientifically. There has been much research done on these natural phenomena over the past few decades, and we have now amassed considerable knowledge on how and why they occur.

Nevertheless, eruptions still occur frequently, and there are invariably consequences for the people who live near or on top of the volcanoes where they form.

Main types of volcanos: shield volcano, cinder cone volcano, composite volcano

What type of volcano is Mauna Lao

Mauna Loa is a shield volcano. It has a wide base, and the slopes are mostly low angles. A shield volcano is often overlain by a small summit caldera.

It has had 33 recorded eruptions since 1843, most recently in 1984.

Facts for Kids
Facts for Kids

There are four different shapes of shield volcanoes:

– dome-shaped 

– gently sloping

– steep

– flat

Learn more

Hawaiians call this mountain Mauna Loa, meaning ‘long mountain’ in Hawaiian.

It actually reaches 13,697 feet above sea level and approximately 3100 feet below it.

Due to its weight, the Pacific plate under the volcano actually sags on the ocean floor, believe it or not.

It covers nearly 50% of its big island.

Hawaii is made up of five volcanoes. The others are Mauna Kea, Kilauea, Hualalai, and Kohala.

Eruptions have mostly resulted in large lava flows, not fatalities.

Since 1912, the Volcano Observatory has monitored its activity.

In 1914, Thomas A. Jaggar attempted to climb the volcano to watch the eruption. It took him until 1915 to convince the U.S. Army to build a safer route to the volcano summit.

Scientists closely monitor seismic activity to predict when it will erupt again.

It has been estimated that the ancient Hawaiians lived in Hawaii at least 1500 years ago. Because of its massive size, it was the most sacred of the Hawaiian volcanoes.

The volcano is so large that it affects Hawaii’s climate. Hilo, which is on its eastern slopes, has a lot of forested areas, even though Hilo is the wettest U.S. city.

The summit experiences cold temperatures, with the most common precipitation occurring in the form of snow.

The last explosion in 1984 resulted in a huge flow of lava that spanned 4.5 mile into the vicinity of Hilo. This volcanic eruption lasted from March 25th to April 15th.

Research has shown that the caldera floor dates back to an eruption of a huge lava lake after a large collapse of the southeast flank.

In 2000 years time, nothing will happen to Mauna Loa because it is an inactive caldera that no longer contains magma chambers or other features associated with volcanic activity.


How old is Mauna Loa

It is approximately 6000,000 to 1,000,000 years old.

How much lava is in Mauna Loa

They reckon about approximately 376 million m³ of lava.

How was Mauna Loa made

It’s a shield volcano that was formed by the accumulation of flows from numerous eruptions. It formed on a basement rock made of old and new basaltic lava, rock fragments, and soil.

How dangerous is Mauna Loa

It is a very dangerous volcano. It has erupted over 100 times and is still currently active. The last eruption was in 1984 and ended up killing 35 people.

Those living near the volcano face a range of hazards, including lava flows, explosive eruptions, volcanic smog, damaging earthquakes, and even local tsunami. Would you live near a volcano?

Is Mauna Loa taller than Mount Everest

Mount Everest is 8,848 meters tall.

Mauna Loa is 4,169 meters tall.

Does Mauna Loa have a nickname

It is also called the “long mountain.”

Is Mauna Loa expected to erupt again

Yes, it is expected to erupt again. The volcano has erupted over 100 times, and it still is currently active. The last eruption was in 1984.

Did Mauna Loa kill anyone in 1984

Unfortunately, it killed 35 people in 1984.

How long did it take for Mauna Loa to form

It took about 1000 and 1500 years to form.

What’s the biggest volcano on Earth

The biggest volcano on Earth is not the tallest but is instead the most voluminous. Mauna Loa in Hawaii, though it has an average height of 4,170 meters above sea level, is 130 km in volume and, as a result, holds the title for being the world’s largest volcano.

What are some fun facts about Mauna Loa

It is one of the 5 volcanoes in Hawaii and sits on top of a mantle plume. The other Hawaiian volcanoes are Kilauea, Mauna Kea, Hualalai and Kohala.

It is one of the Earth’s largest shield volcano. It has erupted over 100 times since its formation in 1843, and it is still currently active.

It was formed by the accumulation of flows from numerous eruptions on a basement rock made up of old and new basaltic lava, rock fragments, soil that was subsequently covered by recent lava layers.

What is the average height of Mauna Loa

The average height of is 4,170 meters above sea level.

Is Mauna Loa in the Ring of Fire

Yes, it is in the Ring of Fire.