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Photo & Video Chronology

May 9, 2017
A clear day provided a stunning view of Mauna Loa's summit

USGS scientists hiked to the summit of Mauna Loa, where they checked on HVO's monitoring instruments and realigned an antenna that allows webcam images of the volcano's summit caldera (shown in this panoramic image) to be posted on the HVO website. Unfortunately, the "Moku‘āweoweo Caldera Multi-Frame" webcam could not be repaired during this summit trek, but the issue with the camera was identified and can now be resolved as soon as possible.
April 13, 2016
Another check of summit cameras

Mauna Loa's summit was cold and clear this morning while HVO scientists performed maintenance on the summit thermal camera and two seismic stations. A few faint steam sources were noted in the usual locations on the caldera floor.
September 19, 2015
Routine check of summit cameras

This panorama is from the north rim of Mauna Loa's summit caldera, Moku‘āweoweo, and shows the thermal camera watching for changes on the caldera floor.

An HVO geologist performs a routine check of the thermal camera and webcam at the summit of Mauna Loa.
September 17, 2015
Mauna Loa - Earthquake and Deformation Data 2010-2015

TOP: Mauna Loa weekly earthquake rates between 2010 and September 17, 2015. Blue bars indicate the number of earthquakes that were located by the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory seismic network. Earthquakes of all magnitudes are plotted. Subtle increases in earthquake rates started in mid-2013, while more obvious changes in rates started in 2014. BOTTOM: Change in distance across Mauna Loa's summit caldera between 2010 and September 17, 2015. Blue dots indicate the relative distance between two stations that span the summit caldera of Mauna Loa, shown in the map on the upper left. Sustained extension across the caldera started in mid-2014. This extension is one of the indicators of magma infilling a complex reservoir system beneath the summit and upper Southwest Rift Zone.
August 28, 2015
Gas monitoring atop Mauna Loa

As magma rises toward Earth's surface, gases dissolved in the molten rock bubble out and escape through surface vents called fumaroles. HVO established sensors atop Mauna Loa in late 2005 to continuously monitor the concentration of carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide gases and fumarole temperature within Moku‘āweoweo, the summit caldera. These sensors have recorded data for nearly 10 years, with some ups and downs in temperatures, but no measured change in the gases. On August 28, HVO gas geochemists went to the monitoring site to replace and recalibrate the gas sensors.
January 28, 2014
Winter storm deposits snow on Mauna Loa's summit

This Quicktime video shows a time-lapse sequence spanning from dawn to dusk on Tuesday, January 28, using images collected by our webcam near the summit of Mauna Loa Volcano (13,680 ft above sea level). The dawn is sunny with clear views across the summit caldera (Moku‘āweoweo), but this clear weather soon deteriorates into thick clouds and steady snowfall as a winter storm arrives. This video shows the potential for rapidly changing weather conditions in Hawai‘i's alpine zones.
January 25, 2010
Spectacular views of Mauna Loa's Southwest and Northeast Rift Zones

Left: View looking up Mauna Loa's spectacular Southwest Rift Zone. Pu‘u o Keokeo fills the lower half of the photo. The black lava beyond is mostly from 1916 and 1926. The summit of Mauna Loa is in the background. Right: Sulfur, not snow, paints the ground white in the Sulfur Cone area on Mauna Loa's upper Southwest Rift Zone. The summit of Mauna Loa is over the slope of the mountain out of sight to the left in the background.

Left: View from just below the summit of Mauna Loa looking back down the Southwest Rift. The Sulfur Cone is the white area just above center frame. Pu‘u o Keokeo is the barely visible bump just above Sulfur Cone at the crest of the Southwest Rift. Right: The 1940 cone, just above center, pokes up above the otherwise relatively flat floor of Moku‘āweoweo – the summit caldera of Mauna Loa. Mauna Kea rises up in the background.

Left: View looking downslope at the various cones that dot Mauna Loa's Northeast Rift Zone. The edge of North Pit, on the north side of Moku‘āweoweo, is in the foreground. Right: View from above Mauna Loa's upper Northeast Rift Zone looking across an unnamed cone toward Mauna Kea.
July 31, 2009
Spectacular aerial views of Mauna Loa and neighboring volcanoes!

Left: Beautiful weather this morning permitted great views of Mauna Kea, on the right, and Haleakalā, on the neighboring island of Maui, in the distance on the left. The cones in the foreground are along Mauna Loa's north east rift zone. Right: The high point of Mauna Loa, in the background at an elevation of about 13,679 ft, is actually just the highest point along the rim of the steep cliffs that surround Mauna Loa's summit caldera, Moku‘āweoweo, Dark-colored lava flows of recent vintage (1984) cover the floor of Moku‘āweoweo. View is looking southwest.

Left: This edge of the cliff above Moku‘āweoweo, at an elevation of 13,661 feet, is only a few feet lower than Mauna Loa's high point (out of sight to the left). The cliff here is about 600 feet high. Mauna Kea, in the background to the right rises to an elevation of 13,796 feet, barely 100 feet higher the summit of Mauna Loa. Haleakalā, to the left almost 100 miles away and separated from Hawai‘i by 30 miles of open ocean, rises to 10,023 feet above sea level. Right: This view of Mauna Loa's summit is looking toward the northeast. The east flank of Mauna Kea is to the left, and North Pit, on the northeast end of Moku‘āweoweo, is straight ahead.
September 21, 2008
Comparative views of the 1949 cinder-and-spatter and 1940 vent cones

Left: The 1949 cinder-and-spatter cone (left) and 1940 spatter cone (right) as seen from the floor of Mauna Loa's summit caldera, looking to the southwest. Pāhoehoe flows in the foreground were erupted in 1984. Right: Close-up of the 1949 cinder-and-spatter cone as seen from the floor of Moku‘āweoweo, Mauna Loa's summit caldera. Pāhoehoe lava visible in the foreground (lower half of photo) was erupted in 1940. Beyond these flows, you can see pāhoehoe flows, spatter, and tephra erupted in 1949.

Left: This view of Mauna Loa's 1940 vent cone, looking to the southwest, shows a fissure that bisected it during the 1984 eruption (crack on the right side of the cone). Pāhoehoe flows and spatter erupted from the 1984 fissure blanket the caldera floor northwest of the cone (foreground). Right: The 1940 cinder-and-spatter cone as seen from the caldera floor looking to the southeast. This cone, which is about 114 m (373 feet) high, was built around the vent as lava spewed from it over a period of 134 days. The dark-colored pāhoehoe flows visible in the foreground were erupted in 1984. Rocky debris on top of the 1984 flows is from small collapses of the steep caldera walls. The largest boulder is about 1 m (3 feet) long.

Left: A close-up view of the 1984 fissure that cut through the southwest side of Mauna Loa's 1940 vent cone. The crack on the right side of the cone is the 1984 fissure. Right: Aerial view of Mauna Loa's upper northeast rift zone near the area where it intersects Moku‘āweoweo, the summit caldera. Pāhoehoe flows visible in the foreground were erupted in 1942. Distant steep cliffs (right background) are the west wall of the summit caldera.
July 2, 2008
Spectacular views of the summit caldera of Mauna Loa

A view of Moku‘āweoweo, the summit caldera of Mauna Loa, as seen from South Pit (looking to the north-northwest). An eruption in 1940 created the cinder-and-spatter cone visible on the caldera floor (right center). This cone, which is about 114 m (373 feet) high, is the largest cone at Mauna Loa's summit. The cone on the southwest rim of the caldera (left center) was built during an eruption in 1949. The light-brown tephra from that eruption mantles pāhoehoe flows in the foreground.

Left: This aerial view of Mauna Loa's summit shows the cinder-cone and lava flows that were erupted in 1949. The crack extending down the left side of the cone is the northeast-southwest trending 1984 fissure that bisected the southwest flank of the cone during the initial phase of the eruption. Light-brown tephra erupted from the 1949 cone thins to the west. The steep caldera walls north (right) of the cone are 70 m (230 feet) high. Right: An aerial view of the 1940 cinder-and-spatter cone on the floor of Mauna Loa's summit caldera as seen from the southeast. The west wall of the caldera (background) is about 170 m (560 feet) high. Most of the caldera floor around the cone is covered by lava flows erupted in 1984.