Tuesday, September 27, 2011

[Second] Most Massive Majestic Mountain

Saturday I went up to Mauna Kea to volunteer for a summit tour, and on the way up I just had to stop and take the following panorama due to the exceptional clarity in the Saddle region, which usually has clouds in it that would make such a view impossible.

(Edit 3/31/18: I've replaced the original, hand-made panorama with a version from Hugin, but you can see the original by mousing over the image.)

Mauna Loa, with Puʻu Huluhulu visible just left of image center.
(Edit 3/31/18: Two years after this post was written it was announced that a submarine volcano called Tamu Massif in the western Pacific may actually be the largest single volcano on earth. In light of that fact, to keep up with the times, I've edited the following paragraph slightly, but it was correct to the best of our knowledge at the time it was written.)

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the [second] most massive mountain on Earth [after Tamu Massif], and second third-most massive in the entire Solar System. It's also very nearly the tallest, beaten only by Mauna Kea [and Tamu Massif] and Olympus Mons on Mars. This…is Mauna Loa.

The name Mauna Loa means “long mountain” in Hawaiian, and it's not hard to see where the name comes from. This is, indeed, a long mountain. Mauna Loa is a shield volcano, and you can see just how gently it slopes up to its summit caldera (which isn't quite visible from the altitude this picture was taken at). Lava flows of varying ages and colors cover its flanks, while old growth forests of ʻōhiʻa lehua trees stand wherever they can establish themselves. All in all, it's one beautiful mountain.

1 comment:

  1. Yup, the only way you can fit it in is a panorama! :) I'm glad Mauna Loa is getting more attention... not that Mauna Kea is bad either!

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