HAWAI‘I ISLAND, Hawaii — Mauna Loa's eruptive history and current status are the topics of a talk by Frank Trusdell, U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologist, on Wed., Jan. 8.
Mauna Loa, one of Hawaiʻi's most active volcanoes, has erupted 33 times since 1843—most recently in March 1984. During that 23-day-long eruption, lava flows reached to within four miles of Hilo city limits.
Mauna Loa has now been quiet for almost 30 years. As a result, many Hawai‘i residents may not be aware that it is an active volcano. But Mauna Loa will definitely erupt again and it could be in your lifetime, according to Trusdell.
"When Mauna Loa erupts, it is capable of disrupting lives and commerce throughout the Island of Hawai‘i," he added.
During Mauna Loa's 1859 eruption, lava flows traveled from vents high on the northwest flank of the volcano and entered the ocean near Kīholo Bay, a distance of over 50 km (31 miles), in eight days.
HVO closely monitors Mauna Loa, and will notify public safety officials and emergency managers of any changes in its currently quiet status. "For now, it's important for all Hawai‘i residents to become aware of the volcano's potential activity so that they are prepared for its next eruption," Trusdell said.
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