Large earthquake could trigger eruption of Mauna Loa, world's largest active volcano | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: DENY X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

Large earthquake could trigger eruption of Mauna Loa, world's largest active volcano

Scientists from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science have shed light on the hazards of Hawaii's Mauna Loa, the largest active volcano on Earth, finding that a large earthquake could set off an eruption. The team studied ground movements measured by Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) satellite data and GPS stations to get a precise model of where magma intruded and how magma changed over time, as well as where faults moved under the flanks, without generating earthquakes.

"An earthquake of magnitude-6 or greater would relieve the stress imparted by the influx of magma along a sub-horizontal fault under the western flank of the volcano," explained lead author the new study, Bhuvan Varugu, a Ph.D. candidate at the UM Rosenstiel School.

"This earthquake could trigger an eruption."

The researchers found that from 2014 to 2020, a total of 0.11 cubic km (0.03 cubic miles) of new magma intruded into a dike-like magma body under and south of the summit caldera, with the upper edge at around 3 km (2 miles).

In 2015, the magma began expanding southward, where the topographic elevation is lower and the magma had less work against the pressure. After the magma flux diminished in 2017, the inflation center returned to its previous position. Such changes of a magma body have never been observed in the past.

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