In Pictures: Mauna Loa erupts




  • In Science
  • 2022-12-01 11:53:45Z
  • By BBC
Mauna Loa volcano erupts on November 28, 2022 on the Island of Hawaii.
Mauna Loa volcano erupts on November 28, 2022 on the Island of Hawaii.  

Mauna Loa - the world's largest active volcano - is erupting for the first time since 1984.

Lava is flowing down the side of the volcano at a temperature of 1,000C, but experts say this does not yet pose a big threat to local inhabitants.

The world
The world's largest active volcano, Mauna Loa, continues to erupt from its northeast rift, on the Island of Hawaii, Hawaii, USA, 30 November 2022.  
The world
The world's largest active volcano, Mauna Loa, continues to erupt from its northeast rift, on the Island of Hawaii, Hawaii, USA, 30 November 2022.  
The world
The world's largest active volcano, Mauna Loa, continues to erupt from its northeast rift, on the Island of Hawaii, Hawaii, USA, 30 November 2022.  

Mauna Loa, which means "long mountain" in Hawaiian, is the largest active volcano in the world.

It covers 2,035 sq miles (5,271 sq km), and is one of a chain of five volcanoes which form Hawaii's Big Island.

This one volcano alone comprises half of the whole island.

Mauna Loa's summit is 13,680ft (4,170m) above sea level, but its base is on the sea floor. From there to the summit is 30,085ft (9,170m), making it taller than Mount Everest.

Aerial view of Mauna Loa summit with Lua Hou in the foreground followed by Lua Hohonu, South Pit, and Mokuʻāweoweo summit caldera after the eruption of Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii, U.
Aerial view of Mauna Loa summit with Lua Hou in the foreground followed by Lua Hohonu, South Pit, and Mokuʻāweoweo summit caldera after the eruption of Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii, U.  
A satellite image shows rifts of Hawaii
A satellite image shows rifts of Hawaii's Mauna Loa Volcano in Hawaii, US.  

Plumes of super-heated material called magma have been welling up underneath Mauna Loa and neighbouring volcanoes from a "hotspot" deep within the Earth.

Volcanic eruption at Mauna Loa volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii on November 29, 2022.
Volcanic eruption at Mauna Loa volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii on November 29, 2022.  
A view from Mauna Loa, the world
A view from Mauna Loa, the world's largest active volcano, began to erupt overnight on November 30, 2022 in Big Island of Hawaii, United States.  

Unlike many volcanoes, Mauna Loa usually does not produce really explosive eruptions, in which lava shoots into the air along with plumes of ash and gas.

Instead, the lava flows at a fairly slow pace down the volcano's side.

Composite satellite images show rifts and lava flow of Hawaii
Composite satellite images show rifts and lava flow of Hawaii's Mauna Loa Volcano in Hawaii, US.  
The world
The world's largest active volcano, Mauna Loa, continues to erupt from its northeast rift, on the Island of Hawaii, Hawaii, USA, 30 November 2022.  

Local people may be at risk from the gases which Mauna Loa is emitting.

The health authorities in Hawaii say that air quality is still good, but that it could get worse at any time.

If it does, local residents are advised to avoid outdoor activities and to stay indoors with doors and windows shut.

Mauna Loa has erupted 33 times since 1843, the date of the first recorded eruption. On average, that it is one eruption every five and a half years.

However, the last eruption was in 1984, as seen in the images below.

The east rift spatter cone of Kilauea, during a dual eruption of the Mauna Loa and Kilauea volcanos on the island of Hawaii, 30 March 1984.
The east rift spatter cone of Kilauea, during a dual eruption of the Mauna Loa and Kilauea volcanos on the island of Hawaii, 30 March 1984.  
1984 Mauna Loa Eruption
1984 Mauna Loa Eruption  
A channel of fast-flowing lava moves through a cooled section of a lava flow.
A channel of fast-flowing lava moves through a cooled section of a lava flow.  
Mauna Loa volcano on the island of Hawaii is shown in this March 25, 1984 handout photo provided by the U.
Mauna Loa volcano on the island of Hawaii is shown in this March 25, 1984 handout photo provided by the U.  

All pictures subject to copyright

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