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Clip #: TFA-45D
Library: TFA Network
Region: South Pacific
Country: United States
Eruption of Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii in 1950. lava explosion destruction fire molten river devastation scientist takes samples
tourists watch from boat as steam rises from ocean
Mauna Loa is the 2nd largest volcano on earth. It is an active shield volcano, with a volume estimated at approximately 18,000 cubic miles (75,000 km≥), although its peak is about 120 feet (37 m) lower than that of its neighbor, Mauna Kea, another of five volcanoes that form the Island of Hawaiʻi. The Hawaiian name "Mauna Loa" means "Long Mountain". Lava eruptions from it are silica-poor, thus very fluid: and as a result eruptions tend to be non-explosive and the volcano has extremely shallow slopes.
The volcano has probably been erupting for at least 700,000 years and may have emerged above sea level about 400,000 years ago, although the oldest-known dated rocks do not extend beyond 200,000 years. Its magma comes from the Hawaii hotspot, which has been responsible for the creation of the Hawaiian island chain for tens of millions of years. The slow drift of the Pacific Plate will eventually carry the volcano away from the hotspot, and the volcano will thus become extinct within 500,000 to one million years from now.
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