Shield Volcano


Shield Volcano Mauna Loa

Shield Volcano Mauna Loa

The interesting fact about shield volcanoes are formed when there are effusive volcanic eruptions with magma flowing out in all directions to form a shield-like form. They are built of weak viscous basaltic lava. The effusive eruptions allow lava to flow long distances than other types of volcanic eruptions making larger and thinner sheets of lava. The continuous build of the sheets over a long period of time construct a low broad profile of shield volcano. The types of eruptions at shield volcanoes are known as Hawaiian after the Hawaiian chain where they prominently occur.

Parts of a shield volcano and their facts

Magma chamber that is located at the base of the volcano and is the reservoir of the magma that flows out during eruptions.
Magma conduit is the main pipe that delivers the magma from the magma chamber during eruptions.
Dike is a secondary pipe forming on the side of the shield volcano through which magma flows from the magma conduit.
Sill is a tubular intrusion in the lava sheets fed by dikes and lie parallel to the lava sheets. They form when magma intrude the parent rock sheets.
Stratum is a layer of lava that is formed as magma flows and is solidified on the surface. The continuous layers form the shield volcano.
Fumaroles are an opening on the volcano that emits gases and steam from the superheated water inside the volcano.
Crater is a circular depression on top of the volcano through which erupting magma is ejected.
Lava Lake is a large volume of molten lava within the volcanic vent.
Lava fountain occur during eruptions when magma is being ejected to form a fountain.
Ash plume is the volcanic ash emitted during explosive volcanic eruptions.

Location of shield volcanoes

Fact: Shield volcanoes are found in many parts of the world where magma wells up called hotspots. Examples are Hawaiian-Emperor sea-mount chain (Mauna Loa), the Galapagos Islands (Fernandina), Iceland shields and East Africa (Nyamuragira).

By David Olmstead

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