Channelized lava flow on Mauna Loa Volcano, Hawai`i

Photograph by J.D. Griggs on 30 March 1984. Aerial view of a channelized `a`a flow on Mauna Loa Volcano, Hawai`i.

Lava flow

Lava flows are masses of molten rock that pour onto the Earth's surface during an effusive eruption. Both moving lava and the resulting solidified deposit are referred to as lava flows. Because of the wide range in (1) viscosity of the different lava types (basalt, andesite, dacite, and rhyolite); (2) lava discharge during eruptions; and (3) characteristics of the erupting vent and topography over which lava travels, lava flows come in a great variety of shapes and sizes.

More about lava flows

Features and characteristics of basaltic lava flows

Related photo glossary terms