‘Heightened unrest’ continues on Mauna Loa

  • This USGS graphics shows the spike in earthquakes on Mauna Loa through Oct. 3.

It’s been another lively 24 hours for Mauna Loa.

The volcano continues to be in a state of “heightened unrest” as indicated by increased earthquake activity and inflation of the summit, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

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The current unrest is most likely being driven by renewed input of magma two to five miles beneath Mauna Loa’s summit.

During the past 24 hours, HVO seismometers recorded approximately 38 small-magnitude (below 3.0-magnitude) earthquakes two to three miles below Mokua‘weoweo caldera and four to five miles beneath the upper-elevation northwest flank of Mauna Loa.

Both of these regions have historically been seismically active during periods of unrest on Mauna Loa, HVO said.

Global Positioning System (GPS) instruments at the summit and on the flanks of Mauna Loa continue to measure inflation. However, tiltmeters at the summit are not showing significant surface deformation over the past day.

Webcam and thermal camera views have shown no changes to the volcanic landscape on Mauna Loa over the past week.

The heightened unrest at Mauna Loa began in mid-September as recorded by an increase in earthquakes below its summit (from 10-20 per day to 40-50 per day), an increased rate of inflation recorded by GPS stations, and inflation recorded on the MOK tiltmeter.

Despite the increase in activity, there are no indications that an eruption is imminent, according to HVO.

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