Eruptions of Mauna Loa most often will begin in the summit caldera and then later migrate to a rift zone. Some of the complexities of actual lava flows are illustrated using the main flow system of the 1984 Mauna Loa eruption. A series of 33 radial vents also extend to the northwest. Hualālai is visible in the background. It’s been 30 years since Mauna Loa — the largest active volcano in the world — last erupted sending within 4.5 miles of Hilo. Mauna Loa awoke in the early morning hours 24 years ago this week, March 25, 1984.. The 1984 eruption of Mauna Loa … The two rift zones are historically very active, sending out flows toward the city of Hilo in 1984 and South Kona in 1950 respectively. In planetary geology, lava flows on the Moon and Mars are commonly treated as relatively simple systems. It was a 6.0 and the damage costed about 2.300,000,000 dollars. The outline, brief narrative, and results given are based on a number of sources. In the first half of the 20th century Mauna Loa's eruptions destroyed villages and its most recent eruption occurred in 1984, threatening Hilo, a city built on lava flows dating to the 1800s. Although Mauna Loa has been quiet since 1984, its sister volcano, Kilauea, continues to spew lava on an ongoing basis, producing what is known as "vog," or volcano smog. Mauna Loa's most recent eruption occurred from March 24, 1984, to April 15, 1984. Within 2 to 3 hours, 80% of the crater was covered by lava and there was concern that lava might flow from the crater toward MLO. It is believed that Mauna Loa has been erupting for 700,000 years or more, emerging from under the sea approximately 400,000 years ago. The 1984 Mauna Loa eruption began at about 1:30 a.m on March 25, with lava fountaining in the southwest corner of the summit crater. The 1984 eruption on the 13,680-foot volcano’s southeast flank produced a river of lava that came within four miles of the upper slopes of Hilo before stopping. Volcanic Air Pollution. I grew up on the Big Island of Hawaii. No recent eruptions of the volcano have caused fatalities, but eruptions in 1926 and 1950 destroyed villages, and the city of Hilo is partly built on lava flows from the late nineteenth century. The current eruption of Kilauea is bringing back old memories for me. Eruptions from the Mauna Loa volcano created its gentle slopes.Scientists use the The Richter scale for measuring eruptions and the most recent eruption in 1984. Mauna Loa as seen from the air. 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