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) is one of five volcanoes that form the Island of Hawaii in the U. It is an active shield volcano with relatively gentle slopes, with a volume estimated at approximately 18,000 cubic miles (75,000 km), although its peak is about 120 feet (37 m) lower than that of its neighbor, Mauna Kea.
The largest subaerial volcano in both mass and volume, Mauna Loa has historically been considered the largest volcano on Earth, dwarfed only by Tamu Massif.
Lava eruptions from Mauna Loa are silica-poor and very fluid, and they tend to be non-explosive.
Mauna Loa has probably been erupting for at least 700,000 years, and may have emerged above sea level about 400,000 years ago.
The slow drift of the Pacific Plate will eventually carry Mauna Loa away from the hotspot within 500,000 to one million years from now, at which point it will become extinct.
The prevailing view states that the hotspot has been largely stationary within the planet's mantle for much, if not all of the Cenozoic Era.However, while the Hawaiian mantle plume is well understood and extensively studied, the nature of hotspots themselves remains fairly enigmatic.Mauna Loa is one of five subaerial volcanoes that make up the island of Hawaiʻi.The shield-stage lavas that built the enormous main mass of the mountain are tholeiitic basalts, like those of Mauna Kea, created through the mixing of primary magma and subducted oceanic crust.Mauna Loa's summit hosts three overlapping pit craters arranged northeast-southwest, the first and last roughly 1 km (0.6 mi) in diameter and the second an oblong 4.2 km × 2.5 km (2.6 mi × 1.6 mi) feature; together these three craters make up the 6.2 by 2.5 km (3.9 by 1.6 mi) summit caldera Mokuʻāweoweo, so named for the Hawaiian ʻāweoweo fish (Priacanthus meeki), purportedly due to the resemblance of its eruptive fires to the coloration of the fish.