Where is the largest active volcano in the world?

Rising gradually to more than 4 km above sea level, Hawaii’s Mauna Loa is the largest volcano on our planet. Its submarine flanks descend to the sea floor an additional 5 km (3 mi), and the sea floor in turn is depressed by Mauna Loa's great mass another 8 km (5 mi). This makes the volcano's summit about 17 km (10.5 mi) above its base!

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Which volcanic eruptions were the deadliest?

Deadliest Volcanic Eruptions Since 1500 A.D. Eruption Year Casualties Major Cause Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia 1985 25,000 1,3 Mudflows 3 Mont Pelée, Martinique 1902 30,000 1 (29,025) 2 Pyroclastic flows 2 Krakatau, Indonesia 1883 36,000 1 (36,417) 2 Tsunami 2 Tambora, Indonesia 1815 92,000 1,2 Starvation 2 Unzendake, Japan 1792 15,000 1 (14,030) 2...

How big are the Hawaiian volcanoes?

The Hawaiian shield volcanoes are the largest mountains on Earth. Mauna Kea Volcano rises 13,796 feet (4,205 meters) above sea level but extends about 19,700 feet (6,000 meters) below sea level to meet the deep ocean floor. Its total height is nearly 33,500 feet (10,211 meters), considerably higher than the height of the tallest mountain on land,...

How hot is a Hawaiian volcano?

Very hot!! Here are some temperatures recorded at different times and locations: The eruption temperature of Kīlauea lava is about 1,170 degrees Celsius (2,140 degrees Fahrenheit). The temperature of the lava in the tubes is about 1,250 degrees Celsius (2,200 degrees Fahrenheit). The tube system of episode 53 (Pu'u O'o eruption) carried lava for...

What was the largest volcanic eruption in the 20th century?

The World's largest eruption of the 20th century occurred in 1912 at Novarupta on the Alaska Peninsula. An estimated 15 cubic kilometers of magma was explosively erupted during 60 hours beginning on June 6th. This volume is equivalent to 230 years of eruption at Kilauea (Hawaii) or about 30 times the volume erupted by Mount St. Helens (Washington...

Where does the United States rank in the number of volcanoes?

The United States ranks third, behind Indonesia and Japan, in the number of historically active volcanoes (that is, those for which we have written accounts of eruptions). In addition, about 10 percent of the more than 1,500 volcanoes that have erupted in the past 10,000 years are located in the United States. Most of these volcanoes are found in...

What was the most destructive volcanic eruption in the history of the United States?

The May 18, 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens (Washington) was the most destructive in the history of the United States. Novarupta (Katmai) Volcano in Alaska erupted considerably more material in 1912, but owing to the isolation and sparse population of the region, there were no human deaths and little property damage. In contrast, the eruption of...

What are some examples of supervolcanoes?

Volcanoes that have produced exceedingly voluminous pyroclastic eruptions and formed large calderas in the past 2 million years include Yellowstone, Long Valley in eastern California, Toba in Indonesia, and Taupo in New Zealand. Other 'supervolcanoes' would likely include the large caldera volcanoes of Japan, Indonesia, Alaska (e.g. Aniakchak,...

What are some benefits of volcanic eruptions?

Over geologic time, volcanic eruptions and related processes have directly and indirectly benefited mankind. Volcanic materials ultimately break down and weather to form some of the most fertile soils on Earth, cultivation of which has produced abundant food and fostered civilizations. The internal heat associated with young volcanic systems has...
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Image shows a satellite image of the Big Island of Hawaii
August 3, 2016

LANDSAT Mosaic of Kilauea and Mauna Loa Volcanoes on Hawaii

Landsat Mosaic of Kilauea and Mauna Loa Volcanoes on Hawaii.

Image: Aerial View of Mauna Loa Volcano, Hawaii
January 9, 1985

Aerial View of Mauna Loa Volcano, Hawaii

USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists monitor Mauna Loa, the largest active volcano on Earth. In this 1985 aerial photo, Mauna Loa looms above Kīlauea Volcano’s summit caldera (left center) and nearly obscures Hualālai in the far distance (upper right).

Attribution: Natural Hazards
Image: Lava flows on Mauna Loa
March 25, 1984

Lava flows on Mauna Loa

Erupting vents on Mauna Loa’s northeast rift zone near Pu‘u‘ula‘ula (Red Hill) on Mar. 25, 1984, sent massive ‘a‘ā lava flows down the rift toward Kūlani.

video thumbnail: Mauna Loa Volcano Hawaii -- 1930s Eruption (Part 5 of 5)
December 31, 1929

Mauna Loa Volcano Hawaii -- 1930s Eruption (Part 5 of 5)

Part 5 of 5

Remarkable silent film, 16mm Kodachrome movie film. Probably the first color film ever made of a volcanic eruption. Mokuaweoweo Crater eruption filmed probably in late 1935 by Harold T. Stearns, a USGS Hydrologist-Volcanologist. The lava fountains are hundreds of feet high, the erupting fissure inside the crater is about two thousand feet long. The

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video thumbnail: Mauna Loa Volcano Hawaii -- 1930s Eruption (Part 4 of 5)
December 31, 1929

Mauna Loa Volcano Hawaii -- 1930s Eruption (Part 4 of 5)

Part 4 of 5

Remarkable silent film, 16mm Kodachrome movie film. Probably the first color film ever made of a volcanic eruption. Mokuaweoweo Crater eruption filmed probably in late 1935 by Harold T. Stearns, a USGS Hydrologist-Volcanologist. The lava fountains are hundreds of feet high, the erupting fissure inside the crater is about two thousand feet long. The

...
video thumbnail: Mauna Loa Volcano Hawaii -- 1930s Eruption (Part 3 of 5)
December 31, 1929

Mauna Loa Volcano Hawaii -- 1930s Eruption (Part 3 of 5)

Part 3 of 5

Remarkable silent film, 16mm Kodachrome movie film. Probably the first color film ever made of a volcanic eruption. Mokuaweoweo Crater eruption filmed probably in late 1935 by Harold T. Stearns, a USGS Hydrologist-Volcanologist. The lava fountains are hundreds of feet high, the erupting fissure inside the crater is about two thousand feet long. The

...
video thumbnail: Mauna Loa Volcano Hawaii -- 1930s Eruption (Part 2 of 5)
December 31, 1929

Mauna Loa Volcano Hawaii -- 1930s Eruption (Part 2 of 5)

Part 2 of 5

Remarkable silent film, 16mm Kodachrome movie film. Probably the first color film ever made of a volcanic eruption. Mokuaweoweo Crater eruption filmed probably in late 1935 by Harold T. Stearns, a USGS Hydrologist-Volcanologist. The lava fountains are hundreds of feet high, the erupting fissure inside the crater is about two thousand feet long. The

...
video thumbnail: Mauna Loa Volcano Hawaii -- 1930s Eruption (Part 1 of 5)
December 31, 1929

Mauna Loa Volcano Hawaii -- 1930s Eruption (Part 1 of 5)

Part 1 of 5

Remarkable silent film, 16mm Kodachrome movie film. Probably the first color film ever made of a volcanic eruption. Mokuaweoweo Crater eruption filmed probably in late 1935 by Harold T. Stearns, a USGS Hydrologist-Volcanologist. The lava fountains are hundreds of feet high, the erupting fissure inside the crater is about two thousand feet long. The

...