Volcanic investigations of the Puna Ridge, Hawai?i: relations of lava flow morphologies and underlying slopes Academic Article uri icon


  • Previous investigators have demonstrated that submarine lava flow morphologies are the result of a complex interplay between lava rheology, effusion rate, and underlying slope. Here, we specifically investigate the relation between underlying slope and submarine lava flow morphology along three study sites of the Puna Ridge, Kilauea Volcano, Hawai’i. Using Electronic Still Camera (ESC) images and detailed bathymetry collected by ARGO-II, we can compare the lava morphology and the associated underlying slope. Our results indicate that rubble is most common on the steepest slopes (greater than or equal to 25degrees) and that pillowed and lobate flows dominate on slopes less than or equal to 20degrees. Sheet flows were only seen on relatively shallow slopes (less than or equal to 15degrees). These observations disagree with the results obtained from previous laboratory analog experiments, suggesting that the laboratory results are directly applicable for lavas emplaced on relatively low (< 15degrees) underlying slopes. We conclude from our results that the tensile strength of the basaltic lava crust plays a much greater role in determining submarine lava flow morphology than previously thought. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • August 2003