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Hawaiian Eruptions

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lava fountain
Lava fountain during the April 3, 1984 eruption of Mauna Loa. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii.

NPS Photo by Bob Serber.

Introduction

Hawaiian-style eruptions are non-explosive eruptions of gusher-like lava fountains (“fire fountains” or “curtains of fire”) that generate red-hot lava rivers of very fluid basaltic lavas. Hawaiian eruptions are typical for shield volcanoes, where eruptions take place both at the summit and at fissure vents.

  • Typical magma composition: basaltic

  • Description: Effusive (nonexplosive)

  • Eruption Products: Pahoehoe lava flows. Pele’s tears, Pele’s hair, and spatter.

  • National Park examples: Mauna Loa and Kilauea in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

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Fountaining spatter cone and lava lake within Halemaʻumaʻu crater as seen from the eruption viewing area near Keanakākoʻi Overlook. December 20, 2021

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Lava cascaded from the wall of Halemaʻumaʻu crater into a pool at the bottom, shortly after the summit eruption began on December 20, 2020. Video by the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Kīlauea Summit Eruption (Feb 11, 2021)

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Part of a series of articles titled Volcanic Eruption Styles.

Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park

Last updated: May 16, 2022