Skip to main content

Textural and rheological evolution of basalt flowing down a lava channel

Abstract

The Muliwai a Pele lava channel was emplaced during the final stage of Mauna Ulu’s 1969–1974 eruption (Kilauea, Hawaii). The event was fountain-fed and lasted for around 50 h, during which time a channelized flow system developed, in which a 6-km channel fed a zone of dispersed flow that extended a further 2.6 km. The channel was surrounded by initial rubble levees of ’a’a, capped by overflow units of limited extent. We sampled the uppermost overflow unit every 250 m down the entire channel length, collecting, and analyzing 27 air-quenched samples. Bulk chemistry, density and textural analyses were carried out on the sample interior, and glass chemistry and microlite crystallization analyses were completed on the quenched crust. Thermal and rheological parameters (cooling, crystallization rate, viscosity, and yield strength) were also calculated. Results show that all parameters experience a change around 4.5 km from the vent. At this point, there is a lava surface transition from pahoehoe to ’a’a. Lava density, microlite content, viscosity, and yield strength all increase down channel, but vesicle content and lava temperature decrease. Cooling rates were 6.7 °C/km, with crystallization rates increasing from 0.03 Фc/km proximally, to 0.14 Фc/km distally. Modeling of the channel was carried out using the FLOWGO thermo-rheological model and allowed fits for temperature, microlite content, and channel width when run using a three-phase viscosity model based on a temperature-dependent viscosity relation derived for this lava. The down flow velocity profile suggests an initial velocity of 27 m/s, declining to 1 m/s at the end of the channel. Down-channel, lava underwent cooling that induced crystallization, causing both the lava viscosity and yield strength to increase. Moreover, lava underwent degassing and a subsequent vesicularity decrease. This aided in increasing viscosity, with the subsequent increase in shearing promoting a transition to ’a’a.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10
Fig. 11
Fig. 12
Fig. 13

References

  • Bottinga Y, Weill DF (1970) Densities of liquid silicate systems calculated from partial molar volumes of oxide components. Am J Sci 269:169–182

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cashman KV, Thornber C, Kauahikaua (1999) Cooling and crystallization of lava in open channels, and the transition of Pāhoehoe Lava to ‘A’ā. Bull Volcanol 61:306–323

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Crisp J, Cashman KV, Bonini JA, Hougen SB, Pieri DC (1994) Crystallization history of the 1984 Mauna Loa lava flow. J Geophys Res 99:7177–7198

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Einstein A (1906) Eine neue Bestimmung der Molekuldimension. Ann Phys 19:289–306

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fink JH, Zimbelman J (1990) Longitudinal variations in rheological properties of lavas: Puu Oo basalt flows, Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii. In: Fink JH (ed) Lavas flows and domes. Springer, Berlin, pp 157–173

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Flynn LP, Mouginis-Mark PJ (1992) Cooling rate of an active Hawaiian lava flow from nighttime spectroradiometer measurements. Geophys Res Lett 19:1783–1786

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Getson JM, Whittington AG (2007) Liquid and magma viscosity in the anorthite–forsterite–diopside–quartz system and implications for the viscosity-temperature paths of cooling magmas. J Geophys Res 112, B10203. doi:10.1029/2006JB004812

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gottsmann J, Harris AJL, Dingwell DB (2004) Thermal history of Hawaiian pāhoehoe lava crusts at the glass transition: implications for flow rheology and flow emplacement. Earth Planet Sci Lett 228:343–353

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gurioli L, Colo’ L, Bollasina AJ, Harris AJL, Whittington A, Ripepe M (2014) Dynamics of Strombolian explosions: inferences from field and laboratory studies of erupted bombs from Stromboli volcano. J Geophys Res. doi:10.1002/2013JB010355

    Google Scholar 

  • Harris AJL, Allen JS III (2008) One-, two- and three-phase viscosity treatments for basaltic lava flows. J Geophys Res 113, B09212

    Google Scholar 

  • Harris AJL, Rowland SK (2001) FLOWGO: a kinematic thermo-rheological model for lava flowing in a channel. Bull Volcanol 63:20–44

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Harris AJL, Rowland SK (2014) FLOWGO 2012: an updated framework for thermo-rheological simulations of channel-contained lava. AGU Monograph Hawaiian Volcanism, from source to surface, in press

  • Harris AJL, Bailey J, Calvari S, Dehn J (2005) Heat loss measured at a lava channel and its implications for down-channel cooling and rheology. Geol Soc Am Spec Pap 396:125–146

    Google Scholar 

  • Harris AJL, Favalli M, Mazzarini F, Hamilton CW (2009) Construction dynamics of a lava channel. Bull Volcanol 71:459–474

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Heath TL (1897) The works of Archimedes. Cambridge University Press

  • Helz RT, Thornber CR (1987) Geothermometry of Kilauea Iki lava lake, Hawaii. Bull Volcanol 49:651–668

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Helz RT, Heliker C, Hon K, Mangan M (2003) Thermal efficiency of lava tubes in the Pu’u ‘O’o-Kupaianaha eruption. In: Heliker C, Swanson DA, Takahashi TJ (eds) The Pu’u ‘O’o-Kupaianaha eruption of Kilauea volcano, Hawai’i: the first 20 years. US Geol Survey Prof Pap 1676:105–120

  • Hon K, Kauahikaua J, Denlinger R, Mackay K (1994) Emplacement and inflation of pahoehoe sheet flows: observations and measurements of active lava flows on Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii. Geol Soc Am Bull 106:351–370

  • Houghton BF, Wilson CJN (1989) A vesicularity index for pyroclastic deposits. Bull Volcanol 51:451–462

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hulme G (1974) The interpretation of lava flow morphology. Geophys J R Astron Soc 39:361–383

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jaggar TA (1920) Seismometric investigation of the Hawaiian lava column. Bull Seismol Soc Am 10:155–275

    Google Scholar 

  • Lange RA (1994) The effect of H2O, CO2 and F on the density and viscosity of silicate melts. In: Carroll MR, Holloway JR (eds) Volatiles in magmas. Mineral Soc Am Rev Mineral 30

  • Lipman PW, Banks NG (1984) ‘A’ā flow dynamics, Mauna Loa 1984. In: Decker RW, Wright TL, Stauffer PH (eds) Volcanism in Hawaii, volume 2. US Geol Survey Prof Pap 1350:1527–1567

  • Llewellin EW, Manga M (2005) Bubble suspension rheology and implications for conduit flow. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 143:205–217

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Macdonald GA (1953) Pâhoehoe, ‘a’â, and block lava. Am J Sci 251:169–191

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Moore HJ (1987) Preliminary estimates of the rheological properties of 1984 Mauna Loa lava. In: Decker RW, Wright TL, Stauffer PH (eds) Volcanism in Hawaii, volume 2. US Geol Survey Prof Pap 1350:1569–1588

  • Osmond DI, Griffiths RW (2001) The static shape of yield strength fluids slowly emplaced on slopes. J Geophys Res 106:16,241–16,250

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Peterson DW, Tilling RI (1980) Transition of basaltic lava from pahoehoe to ’a’a, Kilauea volcano, Hawaii: field observations and key factors. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 7(3/4):271–293

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Peterson DW, Christiansen RL, Duffield WA, Holcomb RT, Tilling RI (1976) Recent activity of Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii. Proceedings of the symposium on “Andean and Antarctic volcanology problems” (Santiago, Chile, September 1974), pp 646–656. Edited by O. Gonzales Ferran, executive secretary of the organizing committee

  • Phan-Thien N, Pham DC (1997) Differential multiphase models for polydispersed suspensions and particulate solids. J Non-Newtonian Fluid Mech 72:305–318

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pinkerton H, Sparks RSJ (1978) Field measurements of the rheology of lava. Nature 276:383–385

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pinkerton H, James M, Jones A (2002) Surface temperature measurements of active lava flows on Kilauea volcano, Hawai’i. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 113:159–176

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pinkerton H, Stevenson RJ (1992) Methods of determining the rheological properties of magmas at sub-liquidus temperatures. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 53(1–4):47–66, doi:10.1016/0377-0273(92)90073-M

  • Polacci M, Cashman KV, Kauahikaua JP (1999) Textural characterization of the pāhoehoe-‘a’ā transition in Hawaiian basalt. Bull Volcanol 60:595–609

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Richter DH, Eaton JP, Murata KJ, Ault WU, Krivoy HL (1970) Chronological narrative of the 1959–60 eruption of Kilauea Volcano. Hawaii US Geol Surv Prof Pap 537-E

  • Riker JM, Cashman KV, Kauahikaua JP, Montierth CM (2009) The length of channelized lava flows: insight from the 1859 eruption of Mauna Loa Volcano, Hawaii. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 183:139–156

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Roscoe R (1952) The viscosity of suspensions of rigid spheres. Br J Appl Phys 3:267–269

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rowland SK, Walker GPL (1990) Pahoehoe and aa in Hawaii: volumetric flow rate controls the lava structure. Bull Volcanol 52:615–628

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shaw HR (1972) Viscosities of magmatic silicate liquids: an empirical method of prediction. Am J Sci 272:870–893

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shea T, Houghton BF, Gurioli L, Cashman KV, Hammer JE, Hobden BJ (2010) Textural studies of vesicles in volcanic rocks: an integrated methodology. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 190:271–289

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Soule SA, Cashman KV (2005) Shear rate dependence of the pahoehoe to ‘a‘a transition: analog experiments. Geol 33(5): 361–364

  • Soule SA, Cashman KV, Kauahikaua JP (2004) Examining flow emplacement through the surface morphology of three rapidly emplaced, solidified lava flows, Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii. Bull Volcanol 66:1–14

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sparks RSJ, Pinkerton H (1978) Effect of degassing on rheology of basaltic lava. Nature 276:385–386

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Swanson DA, Duffield WA, Jackson DB, Peterson DW (1979) Chronological narrative of the 1969–71 Mauna Ulu eruption of Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii. US Geol Survey Prof Pap 1056

  • Tilling RI, Christiansen RL, Duffield WA, Endo ET, Holcomb RT, Koyanagi RY, Peterson DW, Unger JD (1987) The 1972–1974 Mauna Ulu eruption, Kilauea Volcano: an example of quasi-steady-state magma transfer. In: Decker RW, Wright TL, Stauffer PH (eds) Volcanism in Hawaii, volume 1. US Geol Survey Prof Pap 1350:405–470

  • Vogel DH (1921) Temperaturabhängigkeitsgesetz der Viskosität von Flüssigkeiten. Zeit Phys Chem 22:645–646

  • Wadge G, Lopes RMC (1991) The lobes of lava flows on Earth and Olympus Mons, Mars. Bull Volcanol 54:10–24

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Whittington AG, Hellwig BM, Behrens H, Joachim B, Stechern A, Vetere F (2009) The viscosity of hydrous dacitic liquids: implications for the rheology of evolving silicic magmas. Bull Volcanol 71:185–199

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wolfe EW, Neal CA, Banks NG, Duggan TJ (1988) Geologic observations and chronology of eruptive events. In: The Puu Oo eruption of Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii: episodes 1 through 20, January 3, 1983, through June 8, 1984. U.S. Geol Survey Prof Pap 1463, pp 1–97

Download references

Acknowledgments

AW and AS were supported by NSF grant EAR-1220051 and NASA grant NNX12AO44G. We thank the National Park Service for granting us a research and sampling permit. This is Laboratory of Excellence CLERVOLC contribution 97.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Andrew Harris.

Additional information

Editorial responsibility: S. Calvari

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

4
figure 14

b) Comparison between overflow samples and their pond (P), spatter (Sp), and tube roof (TR) equivalent samples (JPEG 2648 kb)

Appendix 1

Sample descriptions and characteristics (SG Smooth Golden, Phh Pahoehoe, trans transition). While sheet flows are extensive smooth surfaced sheets of pahoehoe, lobes are small paohoehoe toes. (DOC 71 kb)

Appendix 2

Major element bulk chemistry data (wt%). Analytical error (2σ) are 0.91 % for SiO2, 1.71 % for Al2O3, 0.37 % for Fe2O3, 1.60 % for MgO, 0.23 % for CaO, 1.41 % for Na2O, 7.93 % for K2O, 3.69 % for TiO2, 1.94 % for MnO, and 2.82 % for P2O5 (DOC 73 kb)

Appendix 3

a) Textural characteristics of each sample (N vcorr is the vesicle number density per volume corrected for vesicularity and crystallinity) (DOC 39 kb)

Appendix 5

Viscosity data for remelted Mauna Ulu basalt. For high temperature viscosity measurements, at each temperature, three individual measurements with durations of 5 min of stable readings at different angular velocities have been conducted. Around 1230.7 °C, viscosity steadily increases, indicating sufficient undercooling allowing crystallization to occur. For low temperature viscosity measurements, measurements were made on two cylindrical sample cores A and B (DOC 51 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Robert, B., Harris, A., Gurioli, L. et al. Textural and rheological evolution of basalt flowing down a lava channel. Bull Volcanol 76, 824 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00445-014-0824-8

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00445-014-0824-8

Keywords

  • Lava channel
  • Vesicles
  • Cooling
  • Crystallization
  • Rheology
  • Pahoehoe
  • ’a’a