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Many large and important telescopes are located on top of Mauna Kea on Hawaii. This is a great location for many reasons: it's tall enough to be above the weather, an inversion layer at night keeps the atmosphere clear and dry, etc. But right next to Mauna Kea is an equally tall mountain Mauna Loa. Although there are some instruments on Mauna Loa (a NOAA station) there aren't major telescopes. Why? What makes Mauna Kea a better location?

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up vote 21 down vote accepted

Mauna Loa is an active volcano. The last eruption was in 1984.

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+1 Seems a good reason. – Keep these mind Jul 11 '13 at 22:50
Sounds reasonable, but it'd be great to have something more specific (Is the peak really threatened by lava? Would a nearby eruption ruin visibility?) and some evidence (I can think of several other plausible explanations). – Noah Snyder Jul 12 '13 at 1:50
@NoahSnyder: I can't see a reason why all those expectations not be obtained by Googling? ;-) – Waffle's Crazy Peanut Jul 12 '13 at 2:00
@CrazyBuddy: I spent at least 15 minutes trying to find this on google and failing. – Noah Snyder Jul 12 '13 at 2:38
Since it is an active volcano, it is also a very active earthquake area. – John M. Cavallo Jul 12 '13 at 3:07

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