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Mauna Loa: World's largest volcano erupts

Hawaii's Mauna Loa, the world's largest active volcano, erupted on Sunday 27th November for the first time in 40 years!

At the moment, the situation is stable with lava flow contained in the summit of the volcano but the US Geological Service (USGS) has said the situation could change at any time.

The volcano's alert level has been changed from “advisory” to “warning” – the highest classification possible.

Lava eruption from Mauna Lao Credit: US Geological Survey

Currently, there are no plans for evacuation, which would see up to 200,000 of the islands population brought to safety.

Mauna Loa, located inside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, takes up half of Hawaai's Big Island. At 13,679ft (4,169m) above sea level and spanning over 2,000 sq miles (5,179 sq km) is the largest active volcano in the world.

According to the USGS, the volcano has erupted 33 times since 1843 with its last eruption in 1984. Although the lava is not thought to be an issue at this moment in time, officials are concerned with the falling ash which could contaminate water supplies and cause problems for people with respiratory illnesses.

What are volcanoes?

A volcano is an opening on the surface of a planet or moon that allows material warmer than its surroundings to escape from its interior. When this material escapes, it causes an eruption.

How volcanoes work. Credit: NASA

Try and complete this text with the words in the box!

A. erupt B. move C. active D. under E. lava

A volcano is a mountain that has 1.____________ coming out from a magma chamber 2.____________ the ground or did have in the past.

The Earth's crust, the outer rock layer of the Earth, has 17 major tectonic plates. When these tectonic plates 3.____________ apart or come together volcanoes are formed.

When a volcano is 4.____________ it will produce material such as lava, steam and, ash and when there is enough pressure, the volcano will 5.____________.

Come back for the answers next week!


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