Mauna Loa, Earth’s largest active volcano, abruptly woke up on November 27 after an almost 40-year nap. The volcano shot fountains of lava as high as 50 meters into the air, while rivers of molten rock streamed down the volcano’s flanks toward Saddle Road, the main highway on Hawaii’s Big Island.
Mauna Loa stands shoulder to shoulder with four other volcanoes, including explosively dramatic Kilauea (SN: 7/16/18) and quietly grumbling Mauna Kea (SN: 5/14/20). Kilauea has grabbed headlines in recent years with its pyrotechnics while Mauna Loa has slumbered. But the sleeping giant hasn’t been so quiet in the past, says Ingrid Johanson, a geophysicist at the U.S. Geological
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