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Kilauea a'a Shield Flow June 1, 2,010
June 3, 2010
Most of the flow from the TEB vent on the East Rift Zone is now in the higher elevations near a new shield being built over the main tube. This shield is at about the 1,800 foot elevation and five miles from the ocean. A smaller amount of lava is still being carried downhill in smaller tubes and producing small surface flows on Pulama Pali and the coastal plain. Shields resemble small volcanoes in that the lava overflows from the top and spreads in all directions. These streams only go short distances before they crust up and are replaced by other streams. This process repeats itself countless times and builds the shield higher with each flow. Eventually the flow will sustain itself and go longer distances, including building a tube to the ocean.
Shields such as these are called rootless shields because they are supplied by a lava tube and not by a main vent coming from deep within the earth.