Two Types of Hawaii Lava

January 13, 2009


Provided and Copyright by: Thomas Faber, Atlanta Astronomy Club
Summary Author: Thomas Faber

This photo shows two forms of basaltic lava that occur in Hawaii; aa and pahoehoe, both of which are Hawaiian words used to describe these type of lava flows. It was taken in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, along the Chain of Craters road as the road descends down Holei Pali, a 1,500 ft (457 m) high slump scarp on the southern flank of Kilauea volcano. The picture shows a close-up of part of the 1972 lava flow that erupted from the crater Mauna Ulu and flowed down the south flank of Kilauea to the ocean. The smooth, ropy texture of pahoehoe on the left and the rough, jagged aa on the right is clearly illustrated. Even though this flow occurred over 35 years ago, only a few plants have managed to take hold on its surface. Photo taken on May 11, 2008.

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