Mauna Kea – NASA View

When you are on the Big Island, you can frequently see Mauna Kea from the land,

but this is how the mountain looks from space…

Photo Credit: NASA – This astronaut photograph was acquired on November 1, 2015.

Location: Island of Hawai‘i
Latitude: 19.82° N
Longitude: 155.47° W
Elevation: 4,207 (m) 13,803 (f)
Volcano type: Shield
Composition: Basalt
Most recent eruption: Between 6,000 and 4,000 years ago
Threat Potential: Moderate

Here is the USGS earthquake and volcano monitoring map for the Big Island Click the image below for the latest data for Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea, Hualalai, and the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

National Park Products

Mauna Kea (“White Mountain”) is the highest volcano on the island of Hawaii. It is the only volcano on the island of Hawaii that has evidence of glaciation.

Tall cinder cones atop the summit of Mauna Kea and lava flows that underlie its steep upper flanks have built the volcano a scant 35 m (115 ft) higher than nearby Mauna Loa. Mauna Kea, like Hawai‘i’s other older volcanoes, Hualālai and Kohala, has evolved beyond the shield-building stage, as indicated by (1) the very low eruption rates compared to Mauna Loa and Kīlauea; (2) the absence of a summit caldera and elongated fissure vents that radiate its summit; (3) steeper and more irregular topography (for example, the upper flanks of Mauna Kea are twice as steep as those of Mauna Loa); and (4) different chemical compositions of the lava.

These changes in part reflect a low rate magma supply that causes the continuously active summit reservoir and rift zones of the shield stage to give way to small isolated batches of magma that rise episodically into the volcano, erupt briefly, and soon solidify. They also reflect greater viscosity and volatile content of the lava, which result in thick flows that steepen the edifice and explosive eruptions that build large cinder cones.

The Hawaiian name “Mauna Kea” means “White Mountain” but is also known in native traditions and prayers as “Mauna a WAKEA” or “The mountain of WAKEA.” Mauna a WAKEA is the first-born mountain son of WAKEA and Papa, the progenitors of the Hawaiian race.