Geologists are observing the behavior of the Hawaiian volcano Mauna Loa. According to their study, the next strong earthquake could bring a massive eruption of the world’s largest volcano.

Volcano Exploring

American geologists Bhuvan Varugu and Falk Amelung of the University of Miami observed the Hawaiian volcano Mauna Loa in detail. The largest active volcano in the world measures 9,170 meters above sea level. The eruptions have occurred for the last 700,000 years, the last one took place in 1984.

Mauna Loga volcano, 1984. Photo by R.W. DeckerWikimedia, Public Domain

The researchers used GPS data and satellite data to model the magma’s movement inside the volcano. They determined that between 2014 and 2020, another approximately 0.11 cubic kilometers of magma reached the volcano’s magmatic hearth. Such processes, together with the surface flow of lava and rock movements, change the volcano’s, thus affecting the likelihood of further eruptions.

Earthquake as an Eruptions Starter

Previous major eruptions of this volcano occurred in 1950 and 1984. The eruptions were preceded by strong earthquakes. In 1954, the earthquake had a magnitude of 6.3 degrees, and 34 years later, 6.6 degrees on the Richter scale.

Mauna Loa volcano, Hawaii. Photo by Larry Johnson/Flickr

If there is an earthquake of the 6th Richter scale or a stronger one in the Hawaiian area, it could lead to sudden changes in the surrounding rocks and the eruption start. According to the geologists, the earthquake will also release a lot of volcanic gases, which have a similar effect as a shacked coke bottle.

Scientists know a lot about volcanism. Nevertheless, they still fail to predict future volcanic eruptions with certainty and well in advance. At the same time, such a forecast could prevent loss of life and damage to property. The case of the Hawaiian volcano Mauna Loa is exceptional.

Source:, featured photo by Ása Steinarsdóttir on Unsplash