Illustrated Volcano Glossary

Updated: Oct 26, 2021 03:00 GMT -

lava flow

Volcanology
Lava flows near the coast from Kilauea volcano, Hawai'i
Lava flows near the coast from Kilauea volcano, Hawai'i
Lava flow on Stromboli volcano flowing down the Sciara del Fuoco and entering the sea
Lava flow on Stromboli volcano flowing down the Sciara del Fuoco and entering the sea
Large aa lava flow on Etna volcano
Large aa lava flow on Etna volcano
Lava flow on Etna volcano
Lava flow on Etna volcano
Lava flow on Etna volcano
Lava flow on Etna volcano
Lava flow on Etna volcano
Lava flow on Etna volcano
Lava flows are almost self-explanatory. When magma is erupted in molten or a partially molten state it often has the ability to flow. This is typically the case for basaltic volcanoes such as Hawaii and Etna whose lavas are relatively fluid. Lava flows might form either as primary flows directly flowing out of a vent from the vent or by rapid aggregation of hot fluid spatter that fall back from lava fountains to form a flow.
The appearance of lava flows can vary greatly with chemistry, flow rate, strain rate, temperature, viscosity and other factors. The most simple division can be made between aa lava that usually has a blocky appearance, since the surface of the flow breaks into spiny or blocky pieces, and pahoehoe lava flows, which form a smooth surface and often produce spectacular ropy textures.

Related keywords (3):

lava fountain - lava dome - lava lake
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