Mauna Loa is the largest volcano on Earth. It's what's known as a shield volcano, one that is constructed by countless lava flows. The lava has a low viscosity which slows down its flow rate - like molasses compared to water.When measured from the base to the top, the lava piles of Mauna Loa measure to more than 56,000 ft, about 10 miles high. To get an idea of how high up that is, there are 5,280 feet in one mile (don't be impressed, I had to look this up); the Statue of Liberty is 151 feet/46 meters tall from base to torch...the Eiffel Tower is 984 feet/300 meters tall, not including antennae...the Empire State Building is 1454 feet/443.2 meters tall, all the way to the tippy top...One World Trade Center in Manhattan is 1776 feet/541 meters high...Shanghai Tower in China is 2073 feet /632 meters tall...and the tallest building in the world is the 2,717 feet/828m high Burj Khalifa in Dubai. I'm no math wiz, (the wiring required for comprehending the science of numbers did not get installed in the left side of my brain, or maybe it did, but short-circuited somewhere along the way, like in second grade), nonetheless, I can add. I wondered: how many of the five buildings listed above, if stacked on top of each other, like a Jenga game board times a trillion, would it take to equal Mauna Loa's nearly 10 mile height?
Answer: 9155 feet/2790.2 meters total
Almost 1400 feet/426.72 meters shy of two miles.
Don't you wonder how whoever measures the height of volcanoes did it?!
What do the two Hawaiian volcanoes have to do with the documentary? Hawai'i has a centennial celebration this year of being part of the National Park Service since 1916. It was news to me that the Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park existed. 45 minutes south of Hilo, this 377 square mile park is a place you can witness - from a very safe distance- an active volcano do its thing.
Ojos del Salado in the Andes mountain range on the border between Argentina and Chile has the highest summit elevation. This is a stratovolcano, one that's formed more by eruptive ash and cinders than lava flows. It has an elevation of 22,615 feet (6893 meters). It is also the second-highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere, the second-highest in the Southern Hemisphere, and the highest mountain in Chile.
This volcano is listed as active, however, no eruptions have occurred in about 1000 years. It doesn't spit out lava but it does emit billowing clouds of smoke so something is going on down there. Knowing that is why I wouldn't be fooled by its pretty exterior, like the photo bottom left. Snowy, pretty, majestic Ojos del Salado looking all calm. But before trekking up 20,000+ feet to stand at the tippy top, I would have researched its blowing-its-top history and found the photo in the middle. And that would have led to NOT doing what that guy on the right is doing. My spirit of adventure only goes so far - and high.