Hawaii under pressure

Investigations on Mauna Loa, Hawaii show new activity of the volcano

Crater of Kilauea, Hawaii NOAA Sea Grant Program
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The Hawaiian volcano Mauna Loa begins to become active again after a 20-year break. Because the pressure in a gait-shaped magma body in about three to five kilometers deep increases steadily, as now researchers in "Science" report. Around 20 million cubic meters of magma accumulate annually beneath the largest volcano in the world.

Thomas Walter, who is involved in this study from the GFZ Potsdam, explains: "Since May 2002, we have measured the deformation of the surface in detail with satellite radar. From these data, conclusions can be drawn about the volume and geometry of the magma body. Using computer modeling, we were able to compare these with the stress distribution in the earth's crust. According to the report, earthquakes and eruptions have generated a shift in tension since the early 1980s, which are now being reduced by the magma body taking place. "

The current magma movement can in turn shift tensions and even cause further earthquakes, so that the interplay of volcanism and earthquake on Mauna Loa will continue to run its course. Scientists hope to better understand, and perhaps even anticipate, the occurrence of eruptions and earthquakes on volcanoes with such studies of the field of tension.

(GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam (GFZ), 21.05.2007 - AHE)