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Effusive Eruptions

Mafic magmas erupt effusively causing large lava flows that are easy to get away from.

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America's Most Active Volcano

America's Most Active Volcano

Credit: Hawaii Volcano Observatory, USGS
Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:1959_eruption_of_Kilauea_Volcano.jpg
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Kilauea Volcano has been actively erupting for 30 years. The volcano has been building for 300,000 and 600,000 years. After all this time, the eruption is still going strong!

Why It Matters

Credit: Puu_Oo_looking_up_Kilauea.jpg: USGS derivative work: Avenue.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Puu_Oo_looking_up_Kilauea_-_edit.jpg
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Hawaii’s shield volcano Kilauea, with the Halemaumau crater at the top - See the Puu Oo vent erupted fluid lava on the left [Figure2]

  • Kilauea Volcano is the youngest five shield volcanoes that make up the Island of Hawaii, sometimes called The Big Island.
  • Lava has covered over much of the land and created new land in the sea.
  • The source of volcanism for the Hawaiian volcanoes is the Hawaiian Hotspot.
  • Eruptions on Kilauea are from the summit caldera or the two active rift zones.
  • The recent eruption is one of the longest ever documented in the world.
  • Scientists take samples of liquid lava every week or few weeks.

Explore More

With the links below, learn more about effusive eruptions. Then answer the following questions.

  1. What types of eruptions are effusive eruptions on Kilauea?
  2. What needs to happen for rocks to be thrown miles from the eruption vent?
  3. Even though rocks can be thrown a long distance, Kilauea’s eruptions are still relatively quiet. Why is that true?
  4. What is one thing mentioned in the video that you need to look out for if you are going out to collect a molten lava sample?
  5. Why do scientists take hot lava samples so frequently? What are they looking for?

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    Image Attributions

    1. [1]^ Credit: Hawaii Volcano Observatory, USGS; Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:1959_eruption_of_Kilauea_Volcano.jpg; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
    2. [2]^ Credit: Puu_Oo_looking_up_Kilauea.jpg: USGS derivative work: Avenue.; Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Puu_Oo_looking_up_Kilauea_-_edit.jpg; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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