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Mauna Loa

Eruption of Mauna Loa, March 1984.
Elevation: 13,679 ft (4,169 m)
Location: Hawaii, USA
Range: Hawaiian Islands
Coordinates: 19°28′46.3″N, 155°36′09.6″W
Topo map: USGS Mauna Loa
Type: Shield volcano
Age of rock: < 200 Kyr
Last eruption: 1984
First ascent: Unknown
Easiest route: jeep trail
Mauna Loa is an active shield volcano in the Hawaiian Islands, one of five volcanic peaks that together form the Island of Hawaii. In Hawaiian, mauna loa means "long mountain". The summit caldera of the volcano is called Moku‘āweoweo. Mauna Loa is Earth's largest volcano and is the exposed (subareal) part of an enormous mid-ocean mountain. Indeed, it is the Earth's most massive mountain, with a volume estimated at approximately 18,000 cubic miles (75,000 km³) (Kaye, 2002) and a height—measured from its base some 5,000 m (over 16,000 ft) below the ocean surface to the highest point at 4,170 m (13,680 ft) above sea level—of over 9,000 m (> 30,000 ft). Mauna Loa is about 36 m (120 ft) lower than its neighbor, Mauna Kea.Mauna Loa is part of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.There have been some 33 eruptions of Mauna Loa in historical time, the last in March-April, 1984 (Lockwood, 1995).


Scientific observations - Contents

Mauna Loa from the Saddle Road
Mauna Loa from the Saddle Road
The elevation and location of Mauna Loa have made it an important location for atmospheric monitoring by the Global Atmosphere Watch, and other scientific observations. The Mauna Loa Solar Observatory (MLSO), located at 3,400 m (11,155 ft) on the northern slope of the mountain, has long been prominent in observations of the Sun. The NOAA Mauna Loa Observatory (MLO), located close by, monitors the global atmosphere at its location well above local influences. Atmospheric carbon dioxide has been measured regularly since 1958 and shows the steadily increasing trend associated with the "greenhouse effect" and global warming.Mauna Loa is itself observed by the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, which also monitors other prominent Hawaiian volcanoes such as Kīlauea, Hualālai, Mauna Kea, and Haleakalā.
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