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Lava fountains erupt from along Mauna Loa's rift zone. Fountains are about 25 meters high. (Photograph by J.D. Griggs.)

Mauna Loa. Rising more than 9,000 meters from the seafloor, Mauna Loa is one of the world's largest active volcanoes; from its base below sea level to its summit, Mauna Loa is taller than Mount Everest. It has erupted 15 times since 1900, with eruptions lasting from less than 1 day to as many as 145 days.

The most recent eruption began before dawn on March 25, 1984. Brilliant lava fountains lit the night-time sky as fissures opened across the floor of the caldera. Within hours, the summit activity stopped and lava began erupting from a series of vents along the northeast rift zone. When the eruption stopped 3 weeks later, lava flows were only 6.5 kilometers from buildings in the city of Hilo. Mauna Loa erupts less frequently than Kilauea, but it produces a much greater volume of lava over a shorter period of time.

 Lava fountains

Maintained by John Watson
Updated 06.24.97

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