- Mauna Loa is one of five volcanoes that form the Island of Hawaii in the U.S. state of Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean.
- The Volcano, located inside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, covers half of the US state’s Big Island.
- It has historically been considered the largest volcano on Earth, dwarfed only by Tamu Massif.
- Mauna Loa is the world’s largest active volcano.
- It has erupted for the first time in nearly 40 years.
- The eruption continues at the summit, and all vents to the summit area remain restricted.
- Currently, there is no indication of any migration of the eruption into a rift zone.
- According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), Mauna Loa has erupted 33 times since 1843.
- The previous eruption in 1984 sent lava flows within 5 miles of Hilo, the island’s most populous town.
- Volcanism is the eruption of molten rock from inside the Earth to the surface.
- Volcanism occurs because of Earth’s internal heat, and is associated with tectonic processes and a part of the rock cycle.
- A volcano is the vent through which magma and gases are discharged.
- Volcanos can form where rock near the surface becomes hot enough to melt.
- On Earth, this often happens in association with plate boundaries.
- Where two plates move apart, such as at mid-ocean volcanic ridges, material from Earth’s interior slowly rises up, melts when it reaches lower pressures, and fills in the gap.
- Where one plate is being subducted under another, chambers of magma may form.
- These magma bodies feed the volcanic islands that mark subduction zones.
Significance of Volcanoes:
- The fact that Earth has volcanos tells us that Earth’s interior is circulating and is hot — hot enough to melt.
- Earth is cooling; volcanos are one way to lose heat.
- The pattern of distribution of volcanos on Earth gives us a clue that Earth’s outer surface is divided into plates; the chains of volcanos associated with mid-ocean ridges and subduction zones mark the plate edges.