Skip to main content

Table 3 Table summarising basaltic lava flow events at Mauna Loa Volcano that have threatened inhabited areas since 1950

From: Lava flow crises in inhabited areas part I: lessons learned and research gaps related to effusive, basaltic eruptions

Eruption (References) Overview, including impacts (Eruption duration) Response Recovery & Applying lessons learned
1950 (1, 2, 5, 6) This three-week, central caldera and southwest rift zone eruption had a rapid onset and created eight lava flows. Three of the flows reached the ocean, with one entering the sea within 3 h. Advancing at 9 km/hr., the flows caused forest fires and inundated roads (including the circum-island highway) and a town. Other towns were threatened. There were no casualties. The total volume of lava erupted was 3.76 × 108 m3. (3 weeks) The rapid pace of this eruption meant that response actions focused on evacuating people. Not reported on.
1984 (3, 4) Lava flows from the caldera and eastern rift zone advanced towards the town of Hilo. The flow’s advancement slowed when reaching shallow slopes and halted 7 km from town. (3 weeks) No mitigation was undertaken although discussions were held about circumstances that would prompt such measures. No physical damage to recover from.
  1. 1: Finch and Macdonald (1953), 2: Macdonald (1954), 3: Lockwood et al. (1985), 4: Kauahikaua and Tilling (2014), 5: HVO (2016), 6: Harris and Villeneuve (2018b)