Posts Tagged ‘lava tube’

Lava Tubes: What flowing lava leaves behind over time

June 22, 2011

Lava tubes are a type of lava cave formed when an active low-viscosity lava flow develops a continuous and hard crust, which thickens and forms a roof above the still-flowing lava stream.  Tubes form in one of two ways: by the crusting over of lava channels, and from pahoehoe flows where the lava is moving under the surface.  Lava usually leaves at the point of eruption through channels.  The channels stay very hot although their surroundings are cool.  When lava begins to flow away from its eruption point the surrounding lava of the pahoehoe flow cools down, resulting in the underground channel known as the lava tube.

Lava tubes can form into different structures, such as caves, pillars, or lavacicles.  Here are some of the tubes that can be found all over the world that contain any or all of these structures.

Lava tubes, found where lava once flowed, allows you to peer into a unique side of Earth's geology.

Ape Cave, Mount St. Helens, Washington State


  • Surtshellir – For a long time, this was the longest known lava tube in the world.
  • Víðgelmir – Another long lava tube of Iceland.



United States

The video, below, shows a number of kids and teenagers who participated in the Hawaii Sea Camp program.

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Joie Montoya