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Photo & Video Chronology

USGS-HVO photos and videos are in the public domain and can be freely downloaded from the HVO website (click on a photo to open a full resolution copy). Please credit "U.S. Geological Survey" for any imagery used.

April 30, 2020
Mauna Loa summit mission-critical fieldwork: MultiGAS installation

Left: On April 27, 2020, HVO field engineers and a gas geochemist conducted fieldwork to increase HVO's volcano-monitoring capabilities. Staff installed a MultiGAS station to collect volcanic gas data from within Moku‘āweoweo, Mauna Loa's summit caldera. The work was carried out with permission of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. In this photo, an HVO field engineer guides the helicopter as it lowers part of the station down onto the floor of the caldera. Mauna Loa Volcano is currently at Alert Level/Aviation Color Code ADVISORY/YELLOW, due to increased seismicity and summit inflation above background levels. USGS photo by T. Elias. Right: An HVO gas geochemist works to install a MultiGAS instrument within Mauna Loa summit caldera. The MultiGAS measures real-time volcanic gas (carbon dioxide, water, sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide) concentrations from a fumarole (gas vent) on the floor of the caldera. Ratios of concentrations of gases can give information about the depth and degassing history of magma within the volcano. The MultiGAS also measures fumarole temperature and meteorological parameters such as wind speed and direction, temperature and humidity, and atmospheric pressure. USGS photo by F. Younger.

Left: HVO staff work together while maintaining social distancing as they install different parts of the new Mauna Loa summit MultiGAS station on April 27, 2020. In the left side of the image, an HVO field engineer connects solar panels to the batteries that will power the MultiGAS station. In the right side of the image, an HVO gas geochemist assembles components of the MultiGAS instrument, which is connected to the power unit on the left via weather-proof wiring. USGS photo by F. Younger. Right: An HVO field engineer secures the new Mauna Loa summit MultiGAS station. The Mauna Loa summit MultiGAS was carefully assembled and tested in the lab prior to being deployed on April 27, 2020. Components are housed in a weather-proof case to protect the instrument from extreme conditions at Mauna Loa summit. The station includes a power package of solar panels and batteries and an antenna that transmits data to HVO around the clock. USGS photo by T. Elias.

HVO’s new Mauna Loa summit MultiGAS station after installation on April 27, 2020. The station is next to a gas-emitting vent or fumarole, within Moku‘āweoweo—Mauna Loa's summit caldera. The site is an important addition to HVO's volcano-monitoring network and could provide HVO with early signs of increased unrest. Mauna Loa is not currently erupting, though it is at an elevated Alert Level/Aviation Color Code (ADVISORY/YELLOW) due to seismicity and ground deformation being above background levels. USGS photo by T. Elias.
April 27, 2020
Mauna Loa summit shadow

The MLcam, overlooking Moku‘āweoweo Caldera from the northwest rim, captured this clear image early Monday evening (April 27). Although the caldera is dark, the shadow of Mauna Loa is outlined in the pastel colors of sunset. Mauna Loa is currently at Alert Level/Color Code ADVISORY/YELLOW. This change in status went into effect on July 2, 2019, reflecting an increase in seismicity and summit inflation above background levels. Mauna Loa is not currently erupting, and the network of webcams helps HVO to keep a watchful eye.
March 18, 2020
Snow at Mauna Loa summit

Stormy weather moved through the islands over the past day, producing snow at the higher elevations of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. This sequence shows the webcam images at the summit of Mauna Loa, and the variable weather throughout the day.
February 18, 2020
Interferogram shows range change at Mauna Loa and Kīlauea

Data from the European Space Agency (ESA) Sentinel-1A and Sentinel-1B satellites on March 31, 2019, and January 31, 2020, produced this interferogram. Each fringe, or band of colors, represents 2.83 cm (1.1 inches) of range change—the distance between the satellite and the ground. Counting fringes gives the total range change between two satellite passes. At point (A) the ground moved closer to the satellite by 7 cm (2.75 in) between the two passes due to inflation of the shallow magma chamber beneath Mauna Loa's summit. The angle at which the satellites viewed the ground shifted the signal slightly east of the summit. Fringes near point (B) at the summit of Kīlauea reflect inflation of the shallow Halema‘uma‘u magma chamber. This inflation has been observed since mid-March 2019, with a total range change of approximately 40 cm (15.7 in). Point (C) is on the middle East Rift Zone near Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō. Interferograms and GPS data show that inflation has slowly shifted toward Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō in recent months, during which the range change has been about 17 cm (6.7 in). Speckled areas with no visible fringes are covered by dense vegetation that prevents radar from reaching the ground. Atmospheric water vapor can also affect the radar and is responsible for the circular fringes around Mauna Kea and mottled or linear patterns elsewhere. These signals show that magma is entering the shallow storage system. However these data, together with seismicity and SO2 emission rates do not suggest an imminent eruption. More info on how to read an interferogram is available in a 2019 Volcano Watch article (
January 13, 2020
Snowfall at Mauna Loa summit

Snow at the summit of Mauna Loa has been visible over the past few days in HVO’s MLcam, a webcam on the northeastern rim of Moku‘āweoweo, the volcano's summit caldera. This animated GIF file shows a sequence of MLcam images from January 13 between 5:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. According to the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park website, winter weather hazards currently exist at the summit of Mauna Loa. Prospective backpackers for the area must consult the Park's Backcountry Office.
December 18, 2019
Clear Views of Mauna Loa on Kīlauea summit overflight

During an overflight of Kīlauea’s summit on December 18, there were clear and cloud-less views of Mauna Loa Volcano. Highway 11, traversing both Kīlauea and Mauna Loa lava flows, is visible in the lower right corner of the image which shows a view from high above Kīlauea’s summit looking west. Mauna Loa is not erupting. Its USGS Volcano Alert level remains at ADVISORY. This alert level reflects rates of seismicity and deformation that are above the long-term background. It does not mean that an eruption is imminent or that progression to an eruption is certain. Mauna Loa updates are issued weekly. For more info on the status of the volcano, please go to: USGS photo by K. Mulliken.
November 19, 2019
A dusting of snow on Mauna Loa summit

Stormy weather passing through the area today produced a brief snowfall at the summit of Mauna Loa, captured by the HVO webcam. Most of the snow melted within a few hours.
October 20, 2019
Civil Air Patrol flight over Mauna Loa Summit

Aerial view of Mauna Loa's summit caldera, Moku‘āweoweo, captured by Civil Air Patrol on Sunday, October 20, 2019. Lua Poholo is the name of the pit crater in the bottom left corner of the image. Cones that formed during the 1940 and 1949 eruptions of Mauna Loa are visible in the background, as well as fissures that extend through the center of the caldera. These fissures formed during the most recent eruption of Mauna Loa, in 1984.

Civil Air Patrol captured this aerial image of Mauna Loa's summit caldera, Moku‘āweoweo, on Sunday, October 20, 2019. The true summit of Mauna Loa is located just to the right of the center of the image, at the highest location above the caldera wall in the background. The cones that formed during the 1940 (right) and 1949 (left) eruptions are visible in the distant left side of the image. Lava flows in the foreground of the image, which flowed in a direction south of the summit of Mauna Loa, were active prior to formation of the summit caldera approximately 1,000 years ago.

Cones, flows, and fissures mark the uppermost portions of Mauna Loa's northeast rift zone in the foreground of this aerial image taken by Civil Air Patrol on Sunday, October 20, 2019. In the background, Moku‘āweoweo, Mauna Loa's summit caldera, is visible. The highest point on Mauna Loa, the true summit, is in the upper right hand corner of the image.
September 28, 2019
HVO rebuilds and relocates Mauna Loa gas monitoring instruments

Left: An HVO scientist connects via computer to an upgraded gas sensor station on Mauna Loa. The old housing for the station is visible in the background. USGS photo by P. Nadeau, 09-17-2019. Right: An HVO field engineer and gas geochemist check the wire and tubing connections in the updated gas sensor equipment. USGS photo by P. Nadeau, 09-17-2019.

Native sulfur crystals often form through the reaction of sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide gases, both of which are degassing from this old fissure on Mauna Loa, making it an ideal site for volcanic gas monitoring. As a result of the degassing, the fissure is lined with yellow sulfur crystals. USGS photo by P. Nadeau, 09-17-2019.
September 8, 2019
Mauna Loa: Early morning view of Moku‘āweoweo

An early morning view looking north across Moku‘āweoweo, Mauna Loa's summit caldera, from a spot near the summit cabin on the volcano's south caldera rim. Frost covered much of the caldera floor that was still shadowed, and weak steaming issued from the usual areas. Overall, there were no significant changes observed at the summit. The 1940 and 1949 cones are visible in the sunlit area at left, and the gap that connects the caldera to South Pit is visible at the far left. Photos by M. Patrick, 09-08-2019.