Written by Prarthana Sheopuri. Managing Editor, I Kid You Not.
Mauna Loa, the largest active volcano in the world, is looking ready to erupt – the ground in this area is already shaking.
Mauna Loa is on the island of Hawaii in the U.S. state of Hawaiʻi in the Pacific Ocean.
What’s an active volcano?
An active volcano is one that is either erupting or is likely to erupt. The tell-tale signs point towards an eruption in near future. Officials on the Big Island of Hawaii, in the meantime, have asked the residents to be prepared in case it does.
Here are some things to know about the active volcano…
About Mauna Loa
- Mauna Loa is one of five volcanoes that together make up the Big Island of Hawaii
- Mauna Loa is not the tallest (that title goes to Mauna Kea) but it’s the largest
- It last erupted 38 years ago.
- In written history (dating to 1843) it’s erupted 33 times.
Where will Mauna Loa erupt from?
Scientists are not sure yet. In the past, each eruption started at the topmost part, called the Summit. Sometimes the volcano also erupts from the lower parts of the mountain.
It’s wait and watch for now..
So far it’s not clear where and when Mauna Loa will erupt – from where, for instance, will the new vents open and erupt.
An eruption from the southwest side could hit residential areas and villages – the lava could reach homes in a matter of hours or days.
How do scientists monitor Mauna Loa?
There are 60 GPS stations, set by the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, on Mauna Loa taking measurements to estimate the location and the amount of magma (hot fluid within the earth’s crust )accumulating beneath the surface. Scientists use tiltmeters to track long-term changes in the tilting of the ground.
A tiltmeter measures subtle changes in ground slope and shapes at volcanoes thereby alerting to a possible eruption.
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