# Forecast the Next Mauna Loa Eruption

#### Summary

Use inquiry-based learning centered on Mauna Loa eruptions to teach students about recurrence intervals and how to use data to make predictions on eruption events, vent location, and volume of lava emitted.

First, use cards to convey the concept of recurrence intervals. Have a student cut a deck of cards once per minute. Every time an ace is cut (analogous to eruption start), plot it on a graph. Repeat about 100 times then find the mean recurrence time. Then start looking at Mauna Loa data and guide students through the scientific thought process through a series of questions, allowing students to apply their math and map-reading skills to make testable predictions.

## Learning Goals

- Promote scientific literacy and inquiry-based learning.
- Understand the concept of recurrence time/intervals.
- Be able to interpret data to forecast the next Mauna Loa eruption, vent location and migration, and amount of lava that will be produced.

## Context for Use

This activity is appropriate for upper-level secondary and lower-level undergraduate geology courses.

## Teaching Notes and Tips

Since there is so much public-domain volcano data available, this activity can be centered around any active volcano.

## Teaching Materials

- Deck of cards
- Mauna Loa data
- Mauna Loa maps
- Student worksheet, included in the Mattox, 1999 article.

## Assessment

When/if Mauna Loa erupts again, students can compare their results to see if they got it right.

## References and Resources

## Contact the Author

## Controlled Vocabulary Terms

**Subject**: Geoscience:Geology:Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology:Volcanology, Geoscience:Geology:Structural Geology:Structural Visualizations

**Special Interest**: Quantitative

**Quantitative Skills**: Problem Solving, Probability and Statistics:Probability, Graphs, Algebra

**Theme**: Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Structural Geology, Petrology

**Quantitative Skills Activity Type**: Classroom Activity, Short Activity, Lab Activity

**Topics**: Solid Earth:Structural Geology:Structural Visualizations (Maps/Air Photos/Images/Cross Sections/Projections), Solid Earth:Petrology:Volcanology, Chemistry/Physics/Mathematics