Report on Mauna Loa (United States) — 5 October-11 October 2022
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
5 October-11 October 2022
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2022. Report on Mauna Loa (United States). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 5 October-11 October 2022. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
19.475°N, 155.608°W; summit elev. 4170 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
On 5 October HVO noted recent increases in seismicity and deformation at Mauna Loa. The number of earthquakes increased from 5-10 per day in June to 10-20 per day during July-August. The number of daily earthquakes again intensified, to 40-50 per day, starting at about 0200 on 23 September, and peaks as high as 100 per day were recorded on 23 and 29 September. The small-magnitude (less than M3) earthquakes occurred beneath Moku‘aweoweo, the summit caldera, at depths of 2-3 km. Inflation accompanied the swarm and had also increased during the past two weeks.
Daily earthquake counts were relatively unchanged during 6-12 October. Data from Global Positioning System (GPS) instruments at the summit and flanks showed continuing inflation, though data from tiltmeters at the summit did not show significant surface deformation over the past week. Earthquakes were clustered beneath the summit caldera at depths of 3-5 km and below the NW flank at depths of 6-8 km. The Volcano Alert Level remained at Advisory (the second lowest level on a four-level scale) and the Aviation Color Code remained at Yellow (the second lowest level on a four-color scale).
Geological Summary. Massive Mauna Loa is a basaltic shield volcano that rises almost 9 km from the ocean floor to form the world's largest Holocene volcano. Flank eruptions typically occur from the lengthy NE and SW rift zones, and from the Moku'aweoweo summit is caldera, which is within an older and larger 6 x 8 km caldera. Two of the youngest large debris avalanches documented in Hawaii traveled nearly 100 km from Mauna Loa; the second of the Alika avalanches was emplaced about 105,000 years ago (Moore et al., 1989). Almost 90% of the surface of the volcano is covered by lavas less than 4,000 years old (Lockwood and Lipman, 1987). Beginning about 1,500 years ago, a series of voluminous overflows from a summit lava lake covered about 25% of the volcano's surface. Over the last 750 years, from shortly after the formation of Moku'aweoweo caldera until the present, an additional 25% of the volcano has been covered with lava flows, mainly from summit and NW rift zone vents.
Source: US Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO)