After watching this USGS webcams at Mauna Loa, Kilauea, and Pu’u O’o volcanoes in Hawaii for over 4 years, we have seen multiple events occur over a drawn out period of time … some of which have shown signs of activity on these webcams.
Today, March 15 2015, warm spots are heavily standing out on the thermal cameras looking at the crater of Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii.
In the not too distant past, some Hawaiian volcanic events showed up directly before large earthquakes elsewhere in the Pacific.
As in 2011, the fracture of the flank of Kilauea at Pu’u O’o occurred just a few days before the Japan mega-earthquake .
See the draining event from March 2011 here:
Five days after the event at Kilauea, on March 11 2015, the mega-earthquake struck Japan.
The volcanic activity in 2011 was a foreshadowing of the activity to follow (earthquake wise).
This warming of Mauna Loa is something we should keep an eye on , no doubt about it. If the surface continues to warm, then we’ll know magma is rising (or on the move) just below the hardened surface of the crater floor.
Clearly this area which is showing warmth has shown activity in the past (as seen in this photo from 1975):
Seeing that the small cone caldera which resides inside the crater is ALSO showing additional warmth on the thermal view, we might want to watch Mauna Loa for earthquake activity to precede any volcanic unrest.
Right now, it’s just a warm area showing on the webcams, but it’s warm enough to stand out to me as something not normally seen so heavily. The snow certainly reveals the cold vs. hot areas — normally with sun shining on the surface it is hard to tell… and normally at night.. the ambient heat from the day makes it hard to discern regular solar heating of the rocks vs. something warmer below.
This view with the snow really lets us know there is a hot spot near the surface of the caldera .
The last eruption of Mauna Loa was in 1984. When it erupted in the mid-80’s it had been silent for over 9 years. It has now been 30 years since the last eruption.