Just as remarkable are the studies that have mapped the surface of the volcano.
With nearly a million acres of lava fields, some barren, but many covered with thick vegetation, geologists such as John Lockwood have spent years identifying and dating the different lava fields that cover the mountain.
Their efforts, encompassing very nearly the entire surface of the mountain, have led to the best-documented chronology of eruptive activity of any volcano on earth.
From their studies they’ve calculated that every 1000 years Mauna Loa covers 40% of her surface area with new lava. Before both the 1975 and the 1984 eruptions, geologists measured an inflation of Mauna Loa.
The first flow from Mauna Loa that was documented historically was in 1843. This eruptive record is one of the most active on earth. Magma charges the mountain swelling it like a balloon and with varying technologies this deformation can be measured.