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Mauna Kea Will Erupt Again

Mauna Kea Volcano, Hawai‘i viewed from the south. Prominent cinder ...
Mauna Kea Volcano, Hawai‘i viewed from the south. Prominent cinder cones seen covered in the summit snow. Astronomical observatories can be seen on the summit. (Public domain.)

Mauna Kea last erupted about 4,500 years ago and is likely to erupt again. Its quiescent periods between eruptions are long compared to those of the active volcanoes Hualālai (which erupts every few hundred years), Mauna Loa (which erupts every few years to few tens of years) and Kīlauea (which erupts every few years). A swarm of earthquakes beneath Mauna Kea might signal that an eruption could occur within a short time, but such swarms do not always result in an eruption. Sensitive astronomical telescopes on top of Mauna Kea would, as a by product of their stargazing, detect minute ground tilts possibly foretelling a future eruption.