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A century of studying effusive eruptions in Hawaii

January 1, 2015

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) was established as a natural laboratory to study volcanic processes. Since the most frequent form of volcanic activity in Hawai‘i is effusive, a major contribution of the past century of research at HVO has been to describe and quantify lava flow emplacement processes. Lava flow research has taken many forms; first and foremost it has been a collection of basic observational data on active lava flows from both Mauna Loa and Kīlauea volcanoes that have occurred over the past 100 years. Both the types and quantities of observational data have changed with changing technology; thus, another important contribution of HVO to lava flow studies has been the application of new observational techniques. Also important has been a long-term effort to measure the physical properties (temperature, viscosity, crystallinity, and so on) of flowing lava. Field measurements of these properties have both motivated laboratory experiments and presaged the results of those experiments, particularly with respect to understanding the rheology of complex fluids. Finally, studies of the dynamics of lava flow emplacement have combined detailed field measurements with theoretical models to build a framework for the interpretation of lava flows in numerous other terrestrial, submarine, and planetary environments. Here, we attempt to review all these aspects of lava flow studies and place them into a coherent framework that we hope will motivate future research.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2014
Title A century of studying effusive eruptions in Hawaii
DOI 10.3133/pp18019
Authors Katherine V. Cashman, Margaret T. Mangan
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Professional Paper
Series Number 1801
Index ID pp18019
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Volcano Hazards Program