Mauna Loa Volcano Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

There are many volcanoes on Earth and Mauna Loa is one of the biggest. Come learn about Mauna Loa, what kind of volcano it is, where you can find it, and some other cool facts about this active volcano.

The Mauna Loa Volcano

Imagine walking along on a starry night and suddenly feeling the ground shake with a deep grumble. You look up to see an explosion of hot, orange liquid spewing into the sky and flowing down into a steaming river of liquid heat. You wonder if you're near a fire-breathing mythical creature, but that's no angry dragon you're looking at. That's the Mauna Loa volcano!

The Mauna Loa volcano is the biggest active volcano on the planet and is found on the big island of Hawaii.

Scientists leaving as Mauna Loa erupts
Scientists leaving as Mauna Loa erupts

Its name means 'Long Mountain' in Hawaiian, which is a great description because it is 60 miles long and takes up more than half of the entire island of Hawaii! But there's more than meets the eye to this volcanic giant.

The part of Mauna Loa that sits above the Pacific Ocean that you can see is about 13,680 feet high. That's more than two and a half miles!

But you don't see the rest of the volcano that sits under the ocean and goes more than three miles down. From Mauna Loa's base under the Pacific Ocean to its top is more than ten and a half miles. That's more than 44 Empire State Buildings stacked on top of each other!

A Shield Volcano

Mauna Loa volcano with mildly sloping sides
Mauna Loa volcano with mildly sloping sides

Mauna Loa is a shield volcano, which means it is a mildly-sloping, rounded volcano that has formed over time from very liquid flows of lava.

A caldera sits at the top of Mauna Loa, which is a big, sunken area that looks like it was hollowed out with a giant ice cream scoop. Mauna Loa's caldera is about four miles long and one and a half miles wide. The caldera is usually where the lava comes out when eruptions happen.

Mauna Loa caldera with snow
Mauna Loa caldera with snow

How Many Times has Mauna Loa Erupted?

Mauna Loa is one of the most active, frequently erupting volcanoes on Earth. It has erupted 33 times since 1843.

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