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About Me:I'm a graduate student studying International Criminal Law and first started writing for King's News almost 4 years ago! My hobbies include reading, travelling and charity work. I cover many categories but my favourite articles to write are about mysteries of the ancient world, interesting places to visit, the Italian language and animals!
One of nature’s great wonders is Mauna Loa, also known as Long Mountain, the largest volcano in the world. It is amongst the five volcanoes that make up Hawaii and is 60miles long and 30miles wide with a large portion of the volcano hidden beneath the sea!
Volcanoes are most famous for their fascinating and fearful eruptions but how much do we truly know about them? Volcanoes are mountains which allow molten rocks to travel from the surface of the earth upwards and erupt. The most common image of a volcano portrayed often in films is a great symmetrical cone, typically known as a composite volcano, which is gradually formed in layers by various violent eruptions. There are also other types of volcanoes such as the shield volcano which is formed by an aggregation of fluid basaltic lavas and usually takes the shape of underwater volcanos or island. Mauna Loa is a special shield volcano due to its impressive dimensions making it even bigger than the great composite volcanoes and it is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. In fact according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO), the official regional organisation which monitors Mauna Loa, there have been thirty-two eruptions since the first documented case in 1884 and geologists regularly monitor the volcano for signs of future eruptions.
What makes this particular volcano so interesting isn’t only its staggering dimension and activeness but the legends about the origin of Mauna Loa. One legend states that the goddess Pele was forced to flee from her sister Na-maka-o-kaha'I and settled on Mauna Loa. Some stories go as far to say that Pele would send a white dog to the village to alert people there would soon be an eruption, imagine that! These legends are incorporated in the culture of Hawaii and in many ways help make Mauna Loa a magical natural place to explore, just watch out for the lava!
Here are a few of the scientific terms used above, test yourself and see how many of them you can remember!
Composite volcano: Famous for its iconic shape a composite volcano (also known as a stratovolcano) is a tall volcano shaped as a cone. As stated above they are formed from a succession of eruptions and there are currently 452 stratovolcanoes in the Ring of Fire, an area based in the Pacific Ocean home to frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
Shield volcano: This type of volcano looks like a massive warrior’s shield which is where it gets its name from! Shield volcanoes are very wide but not as tall as stratovolcanoes and are usually more active than stratovolcanoes. They contain low viscosity magma which allows the magma to flow more easily and produce a less dense thinner layer of lava than stratovolcanoes caused by the different amount of Silica (SiO2) in the lava.
Basaltic lava: A fluid volcanic rock which contains basalt, the most common type of lava.
*Interesting fact: The difference between lava and magma.
Most people get confused when talking about magma and lava, is there any difference between the two? Basically the molten rock which circulates beneath the Earth is known as magma and when this magma erupts through the mouth of the volcano out into the atmosphere it becomes lava. So the only difference between magma and lava is that one is still inside the volcano and the other isn’t anymore!