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Friday Field Foto #105: Basalt channel

March 19, 2010

This week’s Friday Field Foto is another shot from my recent trip to Hawai’i — I’ve been sitting in my office working very hard lately and catching myself daydreaming about being in this paradise.

On one of the days we spent on the Big Island we did a 6-hour hike exploring around Mauna Ulu in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. Much of the area was covered by lava flows from the 1970s. Walking around on this new land is a surreal experience.

One of my favorite features was this lava channel frozen in time snaking its way down the hill.

Basalt channel near Mauna Ulu, Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park (© 2010 clastic detritus)

I know very little about volcanology but, in my head I picture something like this:

Pu'u O'o lava channel (credit:

Happy Friday!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. March 19, 2010 6:46 am

    Aaah, lovely!!!

  2. March 19, 2010 6:58 am

    That’s a gorgeous photo. It really shows off how both water and lava are viscous fluids.

  3. March 19, 2010 7:02 am

    Anne, yeah, as someone who spends most of his time thinking about water/sediment channels it was incredibly fun to ponder molten rock channels!

  4. March 19, 2010 7:07 am

    Nice. The tree/bush growing out of it is quite cool – and shows this must be a few years old at least…

  5. March 19, 2010 8:34 am

    Those nice channels are the easiest way to get down, too, especially if you’re trying to avoid the shelley pahoehoe.

    I think the Mauna Ulu eruption ended in ’74, so…darn. That bush could predate me. :)

  6. April 8, 2010 3:26 pm

    Yes, and notice they meander! On the other end we have meanders forming in pure water/ice interfaces on top of glaciers. Can’t recall a fluvial person/paper ever mentioning meanders in lava!

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