Thin pahoehoe flow advancing on road, Kilauea Volcano, Hawai`i

Photograph by J.D. Griggs on 16 July 1990


Pahoehoe is a Hawaiian term for basaltic lava that has a smooth, hummocky, or ropy surface. A pahoehoe flow typically advances as a series of small lobes and toes that continually break out from a cooled crust. The surface texture of pahoehoe flows varies widely, displaying all kinds of bizarre shapes often referred to as lava sculpture (see pahoehoe terms below).

Image: Toes of a pahoehoe flow advance across a road in Kalapana on the east rift zone of Kilauea Volcano, Hawai`i.

More about pahoehoe:

Examples of pahoehoe textures