Lava Lake

Lava Lake

Lava Lake Landforms Have 2 Main Characteristics:

  1. Large quantity of molten lava
  2. Located in a vent, crater or other depression

Example of a Lava Lake Landform:

Kīlauea Volcano, Hawaii, USA
The Lava Lake picture above is of  at Volcano Erta Ale in Ethiopia (a country of the continent Africa)

What is a Lava Lake Landform?

A large quantity of molten lava in a crater, vent or other depression in the ground. The lava may be partially solidified. A lava lake can also refer to one that has completely solidified and is no longer active.

How are Lava Lakes Formed?

A volcanic crater can fill with molten lava, forming a lava lake. A large volcanic vent can also fill with lava to form a lava lake. Molten lava can also fill a depression in the ground to form a lava lake. A very fluid type such as basaltic lava is usually necessary to form a lava lake.

How Large is a Lava Lake?

A lava lake can be less than 20 feet in diameter, or much more. The largest found recently is the Nyiragongo Lava Lake that grew to a size of 2,300 feet wide in 1982.

Where Can a Lava Lake Be Found?

Lava lakes are very rare. They may be found in a crater or vent of an active volcano. There are only six volcanos known to have a lava lake. Other areas that have volcanic activity may form a lava lake in a vent or in a depression in the ground. These are extremely rare.

Famous Lava Lakes

• Kīlauea Volcano, Hawaii, USA
• Erta Ale, Ethiopia
• Mt. Nyiragongo, Virunga National Park, Congo
• Mt. Erebus, Ross Island, Antarctica

Kīlauea on the Island of Hawaii is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and has two lava lakes that currently remain active and in a molten state. One fills a vent inside the summit crater, and the other fills a cone vent on the east side.

Erta Ale is an active volcano in a badland desert region of northeastern Ethiopia. It has an active lava lake and sometimes two at the summit, now and then overflowing down the side of the mountain. One of the lava lakes has been continuously active since 1906. Mt. Nyiragongo in the Virunga National Park of Congo has a lava lake in its main crater that varies greatly in volume and elevation. Before an eruption in January, 1977, the lake had a depth of about 2000 feet.

The lava of Mt. Nyiragongo is extremely fluid and can race down the steep-sided mountain at 60 miles an hour during an eruption. Mt. Erebus is an active volcano on Ross Island off the coast of Antarctica, standing 12,488 feet above the water.

It has a continuously active lava lake in the summit crater and produces small regular eruptions from the lake and nearby vents. Mt. Erebus is also famous as the site of an air crash. On November 28, 1979, a site-seeing flight on its return from Antarctica crashed into Mt. Erebus because of a navigational error. Air New Zealand Flight 901 was a DC-10 jumbo jet carrying 257 people and all lives were lost.

Lava Lake definition:

A large quantity of molten or partially molten lava in a vent, crater or other depression in the ground.

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