Mount Kilauea

Facts about Kilauea Volcano, it's history and current eruptions


Shield Volcano

Shield volcano facts

Shield volcanoes are volcanoes with broad, gentle slopes and built by the eruption of fluid basalt lava (lava flows of low viscosity). Lawa flows out of volcano in all directions from a central summit vent, or group of vents, building a broad, gently sloping cone of flat, domical shape, with a profile much like that a a warrior's shield. The largest volcanoes on Earth are shield volcanoes and one of the largest known volcanoes in our solar system, Olympus Mons on Mars, is a shield volcano also.

Hawaiian shield volcanoes

The Hawaiian Islands are composed of linear chains of these volcanoes including

  • Mount Kilauea (Big Island's youngest volcano)
  • Mauna Loa (largest active volcano on the planet)
  • Mauna Kea (tallest volcano on the island of Hawaii)
  • Hualalai
  • Kohala Volcano (oldest)

Diagram of a shield volcano

Shield Volcano Diagram - parts of a shield volcano

Parts of a shield volcano

  • Central Vent A central vent is an opening at the Earth's surface of a volcanic conduit of cylindrical or pipe-like form.
  • Caldera The Spanish word for cauldron, a basin-shaped volcanic depression; by definition, at least a mile in diameter. Such large depressions are typically formed by the subsidence of volcanoes.Kilauea caldera(formed in 1790) is called Halemaumau.
  • Magma Reservoir An underground zone of porous rock containing magma.

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