Mauna Kea

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  • Country
  • Subregion Name
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 19.82°N
  • 155.47°W

  • 4205 m
    13792 ft

  • 332030
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit

  • Volcano

There are no activity reports for Mauna Kea.

 Available Weekly Reports

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Summary of eruption dates and Volcanic Explosivity Indices (VEI).

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
2460 BCE ± 100 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected) NE flank (Puu Lehu, 3130 m)
2540 BCE ± 200 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected) South rift zone (Puu Kole)
2750 BCE ± 200 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected) NE flank (Puu Kanakaleonui, 2930 m)
3370 BCE ± 150 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected) SE flank (near Hale Pohaku, 2740 m)
3680 BCE ± 200 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected) South rift zone (Puu Kalaieha)
5150 BCE ± 150 years Unknown Confirmed   Radiocarbon (uncorrected) North flank (Puu Kole)

The following references are the sources used for data regarding this volcano. References are linked directly to our volcano data file. Discussion of another volcano or eruption (sometimes far from the one that is the subject of the manuscript) may produce a citation that is not at all apparent from the title. Additional discussion of data sources can be found under Volcano Data Criteria.

Porter S C, 1973. Stratigraphy and chronology of late Quaternary tephra along the South Rift Zone of Mauna Kea volcano, Hawaii. Geol Soc Amer Bull, 84: 1923-1940.

Robinson J E, Eakins B W, 2006. Calculated volumes of individual shield volcanoes at the young end of the Hawaiian Ridge. J Volc Geotherm Res, 151: 309-317.

Wolfe E W, Wise W S, Dalrymple B, 1997. The geology and petrology of Mauna Kea volcano, Hawaii--a study of postshield volcanism. U S Geol Surv Prof Pap, 1557: 1-129.

Mauna Kea, Hawaii's highest volcano, reaches 4205 m, only 35 m above its neighbor, Mauna Loa. In contrast to Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea lacks a summit caldera and is capped by a profusion of cinder cones and pyroclastic deposits. Mauna Kea's rift zones are less pronounced than on neighboring volcanoes, and the eruption of voluminous, late-stage pyroclastic material has buried much of the early basaltic shield volcano, giving the volcano a steeper and more irregular profile. This transition took place about 250,000 to 200,000 years ago, and much of Mauna Kea, whose Hawaiian name means "White Mountain," was constructed during the Pleistocene. Its age and high altitude make it the only Hawaiian volcano with glacial moraines. A road that reaches a cluster of astronomical observatories on the summit also provides access to seasonal tropical skiing. The latest eruptions at Mauna Kea produced a series of cinder cones and lava flows from vents on the northern and southern flanks during the early to mid Holocene.