Lava Lake
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Lava Lake
Lava lake at Nyiragongo Volcano in a molten state. (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
Lava lake at Erta Ale Volcano, Ethiopia.
Lava lake in Marum crater, Ambrym, Vanuatu.
Satellite picture showing the lava lake of Mount Erebus, Antarctica.
Aerial view of a lava lake in Pu'u '?'? crater, east rift zone of K?lauea. The crater is about 820 ft (250 m) in diameter.
Aerial view of a lava lake atop the K?pa?ianah? vent on the east rift zone of K?lauea volcano. Since the collapse of the Halema?uma?u and Pu'u O'o craters in 2018, K?lauea currently has no active lava lakes.

Lava lakes are large volumes of molten lava, usually basaltic, contained in a volcanic vent, crater, or broad depression. The term is used to describe both lava lakes that are wholly or partly molten and those that are solidified (sometimes referred to as frozen lava lakes in this case).


Lava lakes can form in three ways:[1]

  • from one or more vents in a crater that erupts enough lava to partially fill the crater; or
  • when lava pours into a crater or broad depression and partially fills the crater; or
  • atop a new vent that erupts lava continuously for a period of several weeks or more and slowly builds a crater progressively higher than the surrounding ground.


Lava lakes occur in a variety of volcanic systems, ranging from the basaltic Erta Ale lake in Ethiopia and the basaltic andesite volcano of Villarrica, Chile, to the unique phonolitic lava lake at Mt. Erebus, Antarctica. Lava lakes have been observed to exhibit a range of behaviours. A "constantly circulating, apparently steady-state" lava lake was observed during the 1969-1971 Mauna Ulu eruption of Kilauea, Hawaii.[2] By contrast, a lava lake at the 1983-1984 Pu?u ? eruption of Kilauea displayed cyclic behaviour with a period of 5-20 minutes; gas "pierced the surface" of the lake, and the lava rapidly drained back down the conduit before the onset of a new phase of lake activity.[3] The behaviour observed is influenced by the combined effects of pressure within the reservoir, exsolution and decompression of gas bubbles within the conduit and, potentially, exsolution of bubbles within the magma reservoir. Superimposed upon this is the effect of bubbles rising through the liquid, and coalescence of bubbles within the conduit. The interactions of these effects can create either a steady-state recirculating lake, or a lake level that periodically rises and then falls.[4]

Notable examples

Persistent lava lakes are a rare phenomenon. Only a few volcanoes have hosted persistent or near-persistent lava lakes during recent decades:

The lava lakes in Ambrym volcano are vanished by a large eruption in December 2018.[]

K?lauea had two persistent lava lakes: one in the Halema?uma?u vent cavity within the summit caldera, and another within the Pu?u ? cone located on the east rift zone of the volcano.[10] In May 2018, both of these lava lakes disappeared as a result of increased activity in K?lauea's east rift zone. However, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory is certain that the Halema?uma?u lava lake will eventually return.[11]

Nyiragongo's lava lake has usually been the largest and most voluminous in recent history, reaching 700 meters wide in 1982,[12] although Masaya is believed to have hosted an even larger lava lake at the time of the Spanish conquest, being 1,000 meters wide in 1670.[13] The lava lake at Masaya came back in January 2016.[14]

In addition to the aforementioned persistent lava lakes, a certain number of occurrences of temporary lava lakes (sometimes called lava ponds or lava pools, depending on their size and nature[15]) have also been observed and are listed in the following table.

List of volcanoes having displayed past or present lava lake activity

Volcano Location
Persistent or near-persistent lava lakes during recent decades
Erta Ale[5] Ethiopia
Mount Erebus[6] Ross Island, Antarctica
K?lauea[7]Halema?uma?u ( No longer exists after the 2018 eruption ) Hawaii (Big Island)
Mount Yasur Tanna Island, Vanuatu
Nyiragongo[8] (the largest one in the past century) Democratic Republic of the Congo
Ambrym[16] (two lava lakes in both Benbow and Marum craters since around 1991;[17] following an earthquake in December 2018 both lakes are buried under collapsed craters and as of July 2019 lava is only partially visible) Ambrym Island, Vanuatu
Mount Michael Saunders Island, South Sandwich Islands
Recent intermittent lava lake activity
Masaya[14][18] Nicaragua
Villarrica[19] Chile
Karthala[20] Grande Comore, Comoros
Piton de la Fournaise[21][22] (small temporary lava pond in Dolomieu crater) Réunion Island
Ol Doinyo Lengai[23][24] (only active volcano in the world emitting carbonatite lava) Tanzania
Turrialba[25] (small lake) Costa Rica
Unconfirmed lava lake activity
Telica[26] (possibly in 1971 and 1999-2000) Nicaragua
Tungurahua[27] (possibly in 1999) Ecuador
Tofua[28] (possibly in 2004 and 2006) Tofua Island, Tonga
Nabro[29] (possibly in 2012) Eritrea
Lava lake activity suggested by satellite remote-sensing data
Mount Michael[30] Saunders Island, South Sandwich Islands
Mount Belinda[31] Montagu Island, South Sandwich Islands
Mawson Peak[32] Heard Island
Past lava lake activity (historical times)
K?lauea[7]Pu?u ? crater (1983-2018, collapsed during the 2018 Puna eruption) Hawaii (Big Island)
Mount Matavanu[33][34] (during the 1905-1911 eruption) Savai'i Island, Samoa
Nyamuragira[34][35] (lava lake located within the summit caldera, confirmed for the first time in 1921, drained in 1938, and temporary lava pond in the Kituro cone on the SW flank, during the 1948 eruption) Democratic Republic of the Congo
Capelinhos[36][37] (in 1958, a Surtseyan eruption) Faial Island, Azores
Surtsey[38][39][40] (in 1964, during the 1963-1967 eruption which led to the formation of the island) Iceland
Tolbachik,[34][41] part of the Klyuchevskaya volcanic complex (last observation of lava lake activity in 1964) Kamchatka, Russia
Etna[42] (in 1974) Sicily, Italy
Ardoukôba[43] (in 1978) Djibouti
Mount Mihara[44] (in 1986) Izu ?shima, Japan
Stromboli[45] (in 1986 and 1989) Aeolian Islands, Italy
La Cumbre[46] (in 1995) Fernandina Island, Galápagos
Pacaya[47] (in 2000 and 2001) Guatemala
Lava lake activity on other planetary bodies
Loki Patera[48] Io
Janus Patera[49] Io
Pele[49] Io

See also


 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Geological Survey document: "Lava lake". Volcano Hazards Program Photo Glossary.

  1. ^ "VHP Photo Glossary: Lava lake". Retrieved .
  2. ^ Swanson et al. (1979) "Ground deformation at Pu'u 'O'o. U.S. Geological Survey Chronological narrative of the 1969-71 Mauna Ulu eruption of Kilauea volcano". US Geological Survey Professional Paper 1056
  3. ^ Wolfe et al. (1988). "Geologic observations and chronology of eruptive events". US Geological Survey Professional Paper 1463
  4. ^ Witham and Llewellin (2006). "Stability of Lava Lakes". '+Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research vol. 158 p.321-332
  5. ^ a b "Global Volcanism Program : Erta Ale". Retrieved .
  6. ^ a b "Global Volcanism Program : Erebus". Retrieved .
  7. ^ a b c "K?lauea". Global Volcanism Program. Smithsonian Institution.
  8. ^ a b "Nyiragongo". Global Volcanism Program. Smithsonian Institution.
  9. ^ "Remote Mount Michael volcano hosts persistent lava lake". BBC News. BBC News. Retrieved 2019.
  10. ^ "HVO Kilauea Status". Retrieved .
  11. ^ "Frequently asked questions about deformation at K?lauea summit" (PDF). 2018-07-31. Retrieved .
  12. ^ "Global Volcanism Program : Nyiragongo". Retrieved .
  13. ^ "Pit crater structure and processes governing persistent activity at Masaya Volcano, Nicaragua" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04. Retrieved .
  14. ^ a b "Masaya". Retrieved .
  15. ^ Tazieff, H. (1994). "Permanent lava lakes: Observed facts and induced mechanisms". Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. 63: 3-11. Bibcode:1994JVGR...63....3T. doi:10.1016/0377-0273(94)90015-9.
  16. ^ "Ambrum". Global Volcanism Program. Smithsonian Institution.
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Masaya". Global Volcanism Program. Smithsonian Institution.
  19. ^ "Villarrica". Global Volcanism Program. Smithsonian Institution.
  20. ^ "Global Volcanism Program : Karthala". Retrieved .
  21. ^ "Global Volcanism Program : Fournaise, Piton de la". Bibcode:2007GeoRL..3421301M. doi:10.1029/2007GL031248. Retrieved .
  22. ^ "Terre et Volcans News v4". Retrieved .
  23. ^ "Global Volcanism Program : Lengai, Ol Doinyo". Retrieved .
  24. ^ "Etnatao: Ol Doinyo Lengai Volcano Tanzania". YouTube. 2010-02-11. Retrieved .
  25. ^ "Inspección del interior del cráter activo del volcán Turrialba del 29 de junio del 2017".
  26. ^ "Global Volcanism Program : Telica". Retrieved .
  27. ^ "Global Volcanism Program : Tungurahua". Retrieved .
  28. ^ "Global Volcanism Program : Tofua". Retrieved .
  29. ^ "Eruption volcanique, activité éruptive du volcan Nabro". Archived from the original on 2013-03-28. Retrieved .
  30. ^ "Global Volcanism Program : Michael". Retrieved .
  31. ^ First recorded eruption of Mount Belinda volcano (Montagu Island), South Sandwich Islands, Bull Volcanol (2005) 67:415-422 (PDF)
  32. ^ "Global Volcanism Program : Heard". Retrieved .
  33. ^ "Global Volcanism Program : Savai'i". 2013-01-03. Retrieved .
  34. ^ a b c Tazieff, Haroun, Cratères en feu, éd. Arthaud, 1951.
  35. ^ "Global Volcanism Program : Nyamuragira". Retrieved .
  36. ^ "GC1QN4C Capelinhos Volcano [Faial] (Earthcache) in Arquipélago dos Açores, Portugal created by almeidara". Retrieved .
  37. ^
  38. ^ "Global Volcanism Program : Vestmannaeyjar". Retrieved .
  39. ^ "Inspired by Iceland stories: Tell us the story of your visit to Iceland". 2011-05-26. Archived from the original on 2012-07-15. Retrieved .
  40. ^ Duncan C. Blanchard, From Raindrops to Volcanoes: Adventures With Sea Surface Meteorology, Dover Publications, 1967.
  41. ^ "Global Volcanism Program : Tolbachik". Retrieved .
  42. ^ "Global Volcanism Program : Etna". doi:10.1029/2005GL022527.2005. Retrieved .
  43. ^ "Global Volcanism Program : Ardoukôba". 2013-01-03. Retrieved .
  44. ^ "Izu-Oshima Volcano Observatory". Retrieved .
  45. ^ "Global Volcanism Program : Stromboli". Retrieved .
  46. ^ "Global Volcanism Program : Fernandina". Retrieved .
  47. ^ "Global Volcanism Program : Pacaya". Bibcode:2008GGG.....9.2S02K. doi:10.1029/2007GC001791. Retrieved .
  48. ^ Howell, R. R.; R. M. C. Lopes (2007). "The nature of the volcanic activity at Loki: Insights from Galileo NIMS and PPR data". Icarus. 186 (2): 448-461. Bibcode:2007Icar..186..448H. doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2006.09.022.
  49. ^ a b Davies, Ashley Gerard (2007). Volcanism on Io : a comparison with Earth. Cambridge University Press. p. 184. ISBN 978-0-521-85003-2.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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