Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park (HAVO) includes two active Hawai‘i shield volcanoes – Mauna Loa, the largest active volcano on earth that most recently erupted for three weeks in 1984, and Kīlauea, which has been erupting continuously for more than 31 years. Unlike the steep-sided volcanoes around the rim of the Pacific Ocean, all Hawaiian volcanoes have gentle-sloped flanks that result from copious eruptions of fluid lavas with infrequent interludes of explosive activity. Each of the Hawaiian volcanoes erupts from its summit area – Kīlauea and Mauna Loa both have summit calderas (large subsided craters)—and from one or more rift zones (a sequence of vents aligned radially away from the summit).
Because Kilauea and Mauna Loa are included within the National Park, there is a natural intersection of missions for the National Park Service (NPS) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). HAVO staff and the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists have worked closely together to monitor and forecast multiple eruptions from each of these volcanoes since HAVO’s founding in 1916.
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