Mauna Loa Lava Flow
Location: Big Island, Hawaii
At present, Kilauea volcano is the most well-known of Hawaii's volcanoes - probably because it is vigorously erupting right now, and has been erupting more or less continuously since 1983. There is another active volcano on Hawaii's Big Island, and that would be Mauna Loa. Although it has not erupted since 1984, Mauna Loa is still considered to be active -- that is, capable of erupting again at any time. The name Mauna Loa means 'long mountain' in the Hawaiian language.
This photo was taken near a road that runs over a pass between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea. It shows Mauna Loa in the distance, with numerous cooled lava flows cascading down its flanks. In the foreground is some of the lava from a 1935 eruption.
The type of lava you see in the photo is called pāhoehoe. It flows like a heavy syrup, and when it cools it has a smooth or wavy surface, much like thick frosting on a cake. Another type of lava, called ʻaʻā, also is found in flows from all of Hawaii's volcanoes. ʻAʻā flows are not smooth at all, in contrast to pāhoehoe. Instead ʻaʻā flows look like disorderly heaps of broken up lava rock -- which is what they are!
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