Rising gradually to more than 4 km above sea level, Mauna Loa is the largest volcano on our planet. Its long submarine flanks descend to the sea floor an additional 5 km, and the sea floor in turn is depressed by Mauna Loa's great mass another 8 km. This makes the volcano's summit about 17 km (56,000 ft) above its base! The enormous volcano covers half of the Island of Hawai`i and by itself amounts to about 85 percent of all the other Hawaiian Islands combined.
Mauna Loa is among Earth's most active volcanoes, having erupted 33 times since its first well-documented historical eruption in 1843. Its most recent eruption was in 1984. Mauna Loa is certain to erupt again, and we carefully monitor the volcano for signs of unrest. See current activity for a summary of our monitoring efforts.
Mauna Loa Facts
Most Recent Eruption
Number of Historical Eruptions
Between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago
Estimated Age of Earliest Subaerial Eruptions
Estimated Age of First Eruption of Mauna Loa
Hawaiian Volcano Stage
Updated: 2 February, 2006 (pnf)