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Between 1969 - 1974, a new lava shield was growing on the East Rift Zone of Kilauea. This air view of Mauna Ulu shows the final form of the volcano, which underwent many changes during the five years of activity. Now there is a deep summit crater several hundred meters wide at the top of the volcano. Several of the large lava channels that formed close to the rim can also be seen in this view.


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The Mauna Ulu eruptions produced a series of lava flows that traveled over 10 km to the coast, crossing a local break in slope that is called the Holei Pali, which is seen here. Although the road has been reconstructed following the eruption, a visitor can get an excellent idea of how spectacular the eruptions had to have been by studying the different textures of the lava flows. In this view, the silver flows are the smooth pahoehoe lava, while the black flows are made of the rough a'a lava.


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Other eruptions along the East Rift Zone have also cut the Chain of Craters Road that goes from the summit to the coast. here we see the 1979 lava flow, which went through part of the rain forest, leaving behind an unusual set of features called "tree molds", which are the remains of trees that were inundated by the lava and then re-exposed as the lava drained away downhill.


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This is a high altitude view of the entire series of lava flows created by the 1969 - 1974 Mauna Ulu eruptions. The ocean is at bottom left, and the summit is at top right. The prominent black lava flow at the left of the flow field formed in 1969. Notice that even from this distance, it is still possible to see the large breaks in slope (the "pali") that are typical for this part of the volcano.

Copyright by P. Mouginis-Mark