VHP Photo Glossary: Lava Drainback

Eruptive fissure and drainback, Kilauea Volcano, Hawai`i

Photograph by J.P. Lockwood on 6 January 1983

Drainback on Kilauea Volcano. Lava fountains erupting from a fissure feed an `a`a flow that is pouring into an older crack (lower right) on the east rift zone of Kilauea. Drainback Lava will sometimes return to the subsurface by flowing into an open crack, fissure, or active vent, a process called drainback. Drainback is common in the late stages of an eruptive episode on Kilauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes, when lava reverses its normal direction of movement and flows back into the fissure or vent from which it was erupted.

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