What is Mauna Loa?
Mauna Loa is an active volcano in the island of Hawaii. Rising more than 4100 meters above sea level, this volcano is actually the largest in the world, even larger than the highest peak of Mt. Everest. When measured from below sea level to the volcano’s actual base, Mauna Loa is almost a mile taller than Mt. Everest. A total of 17 kilometers can be measured from the ocean base up to its peak. It is considered the largest or biggest mountain because of its massive size at 40,000 cubic kilometers, covering half of the island of Hawaii. “Mauna Loa” means “Long Mountain” in Hawaiian and it extends 120 kilometers from Hawaii’s southern tip to the peak and to the Hilo coastline somewhere northeast.
Mauna Loa has already erupted 39 times in the past. Its last eruption was in 1984 which lasted for about 3 weeks. So this active volcano has been pretty quiet and dormant for almost 3 decades now. The earliest eruption account occurred in 1780, though others have 1843 on record books, and for the past 3000 years, Mauna Loa erupted at an average of one in every 6 years. In 1855-1856, one of the greatest lava flows was recorded from Mauna Loa. The year 1868 was also a significant year for this volcano, as its eruption caused the biggest earthquake ever recorded in Hawaii at a magnitude of 8. An eruption in 1926 caused a village (Ho’opuloa Makai) to be leveled by vast amounts of lava. In 1950, another village, Ho’okena Mauka, was destroyed by lava flow.
Many of Mauna Loa’s eruptions occur in the summit and in two areas around it, one somewhere northeast, and the other southwest. The lava flows were the main dangers when this volcano erupts, but usually movement was quite slow therefore lessening the threat to communities.