VHP Photo Glossary: Kipuka

Photo: kipuka on Kilauea Volcano, Hawai`i

Photograph by J.D. Griggs on 13 January 1987


A Hawaiian term for an "island" of land completely surrounded by one or more younger lava flows. A kipuka forms when lava encircles a hill or a slight rise in the ground as it moves downslope or across relatively flat ground. Because they are surrounded by more recent flows, kipukas are often covered with mature vegetation.

This kipuka formed during the Pu`u `O`o-Kupaianaha eruption on the east rift zone of Kilauea Volcano, Hawai`i.

More about kipukas

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