Encyclopedia of Natural Hazards

2013 Edition
| Editors: Peter T. Bobrowsky

Shield Volcano

  • Raphaël ParisEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4399-4_319


A shield volcano is a low-angle volcano formed principally by accumulation of low viscosity lava flows (mostly basaltic lavas). The name “shield” derives from “Skjalbreidhur” (broad shield) volcano in Iceland, which displays a warrior’s shield-like profile. Nevertheless, this latter volcano is a small-scale monogenetic edifice, and the “shield volcano” mostly refers to larger polygenetic edifices. With volumes between 3,000 and 80,000 km³ (Mauna Loa, Hawaii), oceanic shields are the world’s largest volcanoes.

Hazards directly or indirectly related to volcanic activity can be listed as follows:

Lava flows: Devastation of populated areas, communication networks, forest fires (sometimes in natural reserves of the biosphere). In the case of lava flows entering seawater or lakes, small phreatic explosions and unusual waves due to collapse of the coastal lava bench may occur. Risk assessment studies mostly consider the spatial distribution of vents and lava flows, their...

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire Magmas et Volcans, UMR 6524 CNRS - Université Blaise PascalClermont UniversityClermont-FerrandFrance