Watch: Fly over world’s largest volcano as rumbles continue on Hawaii’s Big Island

Mauna Loa is the largest active shield volcano in the world and last erupted in 1984.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory continues to monitor the world’s largest volcano, which is showing signs of heightened unrest, a possible precursor to an eruption not seen in nearly four decades.

Mauna Loa is one of seven volcanoes that make up the terrain of the Big Island.

Experts are using a variety of monitoring instruments to keep watch over the volcano for telltale signs of any precursors leading to an eruption.

Monitoring practices include flying over the volcano to spot any changes in the terrain, which would signal continued unrest.

Despite hundreds of small-magnitude earthquakes and changes in terrain, the United States Geological Survey reports there are no signs that the shield volcano is at risk for an immediate eruption.

"Mauna Loa is not erupting, and there are no signs of an imminent eruption at this time. Monitoring data show no significant changes within the past 24 hours. Mauna Loa continues to be in a state of heightened unrest as indicated by increased earthquake activity and inflation of the summit. The current unrest is most likely being driven by renewed input of magma 2–5 miles beneath Mauna Loa’s summit," the USGS stated during their recent update.


Geologists say they expect to see more persistent and heightened rate of ground deformation and seismicity before a future eruption.

Shield volcanoes are known to typically be large, but lava is usually thin, which cuts down on the explosive nature of eruptions.

Emergency management and scientists continue to hold town hall meetings, alerting residents of what to expect for when the inevitable happens.

Many are not accustomed to the threats posed by the giant volcano, as the population has doubled since the last event in 1984.

According to Census data, more than 200,000 residents call the island home, which includes comedian Roseanne Barr and actor Matthew McConaughey.


Experts advise residents in the potential impact zone to have plans ready for both sheltering in place and evacuating if alert levels are raised.

Mauna Loa is currently under a yellow, advisory status, the third-highest level on the U.S. volcano alert-level system.

An upping of the alert to a watch or warning by the USGS would indicate an eruption would be potentially imminent or underway.

Volcanologists stress the increase in recent activity on Mauna Loa does not mean an eruption is guaranteed, and there remain no indications that an eruption is imminent.