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New Mauna Loa volcano eruption

Nearly 40 years later, Mauna Loa, the largest active volcano on the planet by volume, produced a new eruption on the Big Island, the main island of Hawaii. It began around 11:30 PM local time on Sunday, November 27 (10:30 AM on November 28 in Italy) and soon became visible from Kona, one of the most popular resort towns along the island’s west coast.

For the time being, it was not necessary to evacuate the areas around the volcano, even if some shelters were activated as a precautionary measure. The dust and gas from the eruption can also travel for several kilometres, which requires some extra caution.

Initially, the eruption affected the upper crater of Mauna Loa, which is 4,169 meters high, but in the following hours the US Geological Institute (USGS) mentioned That lava started to flow in the northeastern region of the volcano.

According to experts, this should reduce the risks of pyroclastic flows in the direction of Kona, to the west, because usually Mauna Loa eruptions affect only one sector of the large volcano. Nor is the northeast slope not very steep, and so the lava may take weeks before it finally reaches inhabited areas: much will also depend on the amount of material produced by the eruption in the coming days.

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However, the situation is carefully controlled, because the eruptions of Mauna Loa are often accompanied by rather strong earthquakes. In 1868 the strongest earthquake ever recorded in Hawaii was attributed to volcanic activity. In general, an eruption does not necessarily mean an earthquake and vice versa.

According to USGS calculations, there have been 33 eruptions of Mauna Loa since 1843. Its name literally means “long mountain” and it alone makes up just over half of the entire Big Island. Its eruptions are usually of low viscosity, as a result of which lava flows easily and eruptions do not occur near the crater.

The most common estimate among researchers is that Mauna Loa was active about 700,000 years ago and emerged from the sea floor – when lava built the volcanic edifice – about 400,000 years ago.