Hawaii’s main volcanoes are “shield” volcanoes, which produce lava flows that form gently sloping, shield-like mountains. A good example is Maunaloa, the most massive mountain on earth, deceptively covering half of Hawaii Island.
Mauna Loa is the type example. Cinder cones , steep sided (25-33 degrees), made of fragments of lava that were spit out of the volcano . Most of these cones are small (100’s of meter across, although some get large, several kms). Mauna Kea has some of these cones as does Waianae.
More about that below. All of the volcanoes are extinct except for Haleakala and Mauna Kea which are considered dormant, and three volcanoes on the Big Island that are active (Hualalai, Mauna Loa, and Kilauea).
Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano killed 77 people in the course of an 1846 eruption, 46 as a result of a volcanogenic tsunami and 31 from volcanic mudflows. Since 1998, four people have died there as a result of the venting of deadly carbon dioxide gas.
Because the rate of ice melt has been increasing significantly since 1992 and the land is sinking due to a process called subsidence, Hawaii is particularly vulnerable to an increased rate of sea level rise in the future. Click here to learn more about the causes of sea level rise.
On the Island of Hawai’i, the youngest of the main Hawaiian Islands, Kīlauea and Mauna Loa are historically the two most active volcanoes, with frequent eruptions.
The Hawaiian Islands are volcanic in origin. Each island is made up of at least one primary volcano , although many islands are composites of more than one. The Big Island, for instance, is constructed of 5 major volcanoes : Kilauea, Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea, Hualalai and Kohala.
There are three types of volcanoes: cinder cones (also called spatter cones ), composite volcanoes (also called stratovolcanoes ), and shield volcanoes .
Mauna Loa on the Island Hawaiʻi is the world’s largest volcano. People residing on its flanks face many hazards that come with living on or near an active volcano, including lava flows, explosive eruptions, volcanic smog, damaging earthquakes, and local tsunami (giant seawaves).
Activity Summary: Mauna Loa Volcano is not erupting . Rates of deformation and seismicity have not changed significantly over the past week and remain above long-term background levels.
Because Mauna Loa and Kīlauea are active volcanoes, the island of Hawaii is still growing . Between January 1983 and September 2002, lava flows added 543 acres (220 ha) to the island.
Eruption continues with active lava lake According to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO), the lava lake remains active and hasn’t shown big variations over the past days.
Activity Summary: Mauna Loa Volcano is not erupting . Rates of deformation and seismicity have not changed significantly over the past week and remain above long-term background levels. The ongoing eruption at Kīlauea Volcano is not affecting Mauna Loa.