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Maunaloa: Understanding Recent Earthquake Locations

4:22 AM · Oct 18, 2022

Looking at a map of Maunaloa volcano’s recent earthquakes does not tell the full story. We’ve created a theorized cross section by combining an NPS Graphic by Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, USGS earthquake locations colored by date, and suspected additional magma pathways emerging from the hot spot near the deep earthquakes. The added magma into the shallow reservoir of Maunaloa in late September led to summit earthquakes and inflation, putting extra pressure on the mobile southeast flank. Two weeks later, a series of earthquakes highlighted by two events with magnitudes 5.0 and 4.6 moved the southeast flank, relieving pressure from the flank back to the magma reservoir. With a continued high rate of magma input from below, the summit can be expected to pressurize again and the cycle would repeat. The deep Pāhala earthquakes, which overlap the recent flank earthquakes on the map view, are much deeper and disconnected from the flank adjustments; instead they mark suspected magma pathways that have accumulated extra pressure near the hot spot source. #Maunaloa #Maunaloa2022 Note: We use the preferred spelling of the volcano by the local community as “Maunaloa”, though it has not yet been formally adopted by either the State or Federal Board of Geographic Names who still officially refer to it as “Mauna Loa”. This follows in the same spirit as the spelling of “Maunakea” gaining broader acceptance. Join our weekly live video review of Kīlauea and Maunaloa volcanoes, at 5pm Hawaiʻi time Thursdays! To support our productions (for free) please like, share and subscribe! This content is funded by the Hawaiʻi County Waiwai Grant-In-Aid in association with Malama O Puna and by contributions from viewers like you! To donate, visit https://www.hawaiitracker.com/support. Mahalo!

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