Where Mauna Loa’s lava is coming from – and why Hawaii’s volcanoes are different from most

Gabi Laske in The Conversation:

The magma that comes out of Mauna Loa comes from a series of magma chambers found between about 1 and 25 miles (2 and 40 km) below the surface. These magma chambers are only temporary storage places with magma and gases, and are not where the magma originally came from.

The origin is much deeper in Earth’s mantle, perhaps more than 620 miles (1,000 km) deep. Some scientists even postulate that the magma comes from a depth of 1,800 miles (2,900 km), where the mantle meets Earth’s core.

Earth’s crust is made up of tectonic plates that are slowly moving, at about the same speed as a fingernail grows. Volcanoes typically occur where these plates either move away from each other or where one pushes beneath another. But volcanoes can also be in the middle of plates, as Hawaii’s volcanoes are in the Pacific Plate.

More here.