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Hawaiian Volcanoes

Hawaiian Volcanoes

Hawaiian Volcanoes term paper due and don't know how to start it? How about like this?

The Hawaiian Islands are comprised some of the greatest volcanic mountains on earth. The islands, according to researchers, formed from either basalt piles lying over great fissures or from the Pacific plate moving over a fixed hot spot. The volcanoes of Hawaii are part of a linear chain of volcanoes that stretch 3,600 miles across the north Pacific. From the seafloor, these volcanoes rise 15,000 feet to reach sea level, and an average of 13,680 more feet above sea level. The main Hawaiian volcanoes are as follows:

  • Kohala
  • Haleakala
  • Mauna Kea
  • Mauna Loa
  • Kilauea

The formation of volcanoes, beginning with a hot spot, develops deep beneath the earth's surface. A build up of hot, molten material, partially melts to produce magna. This magna rises beneath the Pacific plate. As the magna rises and erupts through fissures on the seafloor, it spreads as lava onto the ocean floor and produces the start of another volcano.

The linear shape of the chain of volcanoes that the Hawaiian volcanoes are part of, are referred to as the Hawaiian Emperor Chain. This chain is a result of the movement of the Pacific Plate over the stable hot spot below. The bends that are found along the Hawaiian Emperor Chain are due to the change in directions of the plate movement. A map locating the volcanoes of the Hawaiian Islands follows.

When a volcano reaches the surface, much erosion may take place. If there is not continued lava flow, the entire mass could erode. If erosion occurs, a fringing reef will attach to the shore. An example of this can be found off of Waikiki Beach in Honolulu. Eventually the fringing reef separates from the shore and a barrier reef forms. If complete erosion occurs, submergence will take place and the barrier reef will become an atoll, which is a ring-shaped coral island that creates a lagoon. The erosion of these volcanoes, contributes much to the marine life around the Hawaiian Islands.

The sequence of life of the Hawaiian Emperor Chain volcanoes begins with the submarine preshield. This is characterized by infrequent, low volume eruptions. Lava fills a steepsided volcanic edifice with a shallow summit caldera with two or three rift zones, radiating out from the summit. A prominent feature of Hawaiian volcanoes are rift zones. They are found in all but the final stage which is the eruptive stage. This beginning stage can last as long as 200,000 years. As it grows the lava composition changes and the eruptions will become more frequent.

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