Mauna Loa erupts for the first time in decades


In November, the Mauna Loa volcano erupted for the first time in 38 years. The flow of lava had been a threat to one of the major highways on Hawaii Island. However, one week later, scientists had declared the lava flow was no longer a threat, according to USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

This historic eruption drew a large number of spectators to areas surrounding the volcano. Sacred Hearts Academy senior Annaliese Brown and her family planned a last-minute trip to the neighboring island to get a first-hand look at the eruption.

“We rented a four-wheel drive SUV and drove up to Mauna Kea from the airport, then we went down Old Saddle Road to get another view,” Brown said. “From there, we went around the south side of Kona to Volcanoes National Park before jumping on the first flight out the next morning,” Brown said that the view from Mauna Kea was most memorable.

Mauna Loa, an active volcano, is located in the south-central part of the Island of Hawaii. It is currently ranked as the biggest volcano worldwide. The volcano rises to about 13,677 feet above sea level. Its dome is about 75 meters. During the eruption of Mauna Loa in 1935 and 1942, U.S. military planes dropped bombs in an attempt to redirect the flow of lava since Mauna Loa’s lava had been a threat to Hilo. In June 1950, a 23-day flow of lava destroyed a small village. It came from a 13-mile slit in the southwest rift of Mauna Loa, according to NCGS. 

A sign in front of Mauna Loa reminds visitors that the areas around the active volcano are off-limits. Photo by Emily Trueba.

As the year came to an end, so did the eruption of Mauna Loa. On Dec.13, 2022, according to the USGS, the Hawaiian volcano observatory announced that Mauna Loa was no longer erupting. 

“It was really cool to see and experience, at the same time, seeing snow in one area and lava in another,” she said. “You can’t do that anywhere else in the world.”