Flow-by-flow mapping of the 65 km long subaerial part of the southwest rift zone and adjacent flanks of Mauna Loa Volcano, Hawaii, and about 50 new 14C dates on charcoal from beneath these flows permit estimates of rates of lava accumulation and volcanic growth over the past 10 000 years. The sequence of historic eruptions along the southwest rift zone, beginning in 1868, shows a general pattern of uprift migration and increasing eruptive volume, culminating in the great 1950 eruption. No event comparable to 1950, in terms of volume or vent length, is evident for at least the previous 1000 years. Rates of lava accumulation along the zone have been subequal to those of Kilauea Volcano during the historic period but they were much lower in late prehistoric time (unpubl. Kilauea data by R. T. Holcomb). Rates of surface covering and volcanic growth have been markedly asymmetric along Mauna Loa's southwest rift zone. Accumulation rates have been about half again as great on the northwest side of the rift zone in comparison with the southeast side. The difference apparently reflects a westward lateral shift of the rift zone of Mauna Loa away from Kilauea Volcano, which may have acted as a barrier to symmetrical growth of the rift zone. -Author
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Rates of volcanic activity along the southwest rift zone of Mauna Loa volcano, Hawaii.