Mauna Loa has basalt lava that is very low in silica. The lava is extremely hot and runny, and the volcano tends to produce large volumes of it when it erupts. Mauna Loa's lava is considered particularly fluid as compared to the lava of other volcanoes in its chain.
Mauna Loa is a typical shield volcano located in the Hawaii island chain. Like other shield volcanoes, it has gently sloping sides due to the runny lava it produces. Mauna Loa's basalt lava may be thin, but the enormous flows over thousands of years have built up the volcano into the largest volcano on Earth.