Kilauea: The Birth of Igneous Rock

Name: _________________________________       Date: _____________

Igneous rocks are those that formed from magma or lava. Most of the igneous rocks we see on the surface were "born" inside the Earth millions of years ago. But new igneous rock is forming all the time. Hawaii's Kilauea volcano is a great place to see this process in action.

In this activity, you'll go on a virtual tour of Kilauea. Along the way, you'll learn about the volcano's features and history as well as some interesting things about volcanoes in general.

  1. You'll begin your visit of Kilauea with a Tour of the Summit Caldera. Look at the number-coded trail map. The trail goes in a counter-clockwise direction around the rim of Kilauea's caldera. Before you take the tour, learn the difference between craters and calderas. How is a caldera different from a crater?
  2. You'll also need to know about the Types of Igneous Rocks. How do igneous rocks form?
  3. What's the difference between extrusive (or volcanic) and intrusive (or plutonic) igneous rocks?
  4. Return to the trail map. How does the size of the crater (at View 15) compare to that of the caldera?
  5. The ground in View 3 shows part of a lava flow. What is a lava flow?
  6. The volcanoes of Hawaii have two different kinds of lava. The first is `a`a (pronounced "ah-ah"). Describe this kind of lava.
  7. The other type of lava is pahoehoe. How is this type different from a'a?
  8. Return to the tour and go to View 7. Kilauea is a great example of a type of volcano known as a shield volcano. Describe how a shield volcano looks.
  9. Explain why shield volcanoes look the way they do.
  10. Go back to the tour and continue to View 11. What is a fissure?
  11. Continue on to View 14 then click the link for part 2 of the tour. Keep going to View 23. Notice how lush the landscape is. Form a hypothesis as to why volcanic soil is a great place for trees and other plants to grow.
  12. Keep "walking" to View 25. Describe a spatter cone and cinder cone.
  13. Your last stop on the tour is View 26, where there's evidence of an earthquake at Kilauea. Suggest a reason why earthquakes frequently occur at volcanoes.
  14. Next, you'll journey back in time to find out about Kilauea's eruption history. How long ago was the volcano's earliest eruption?
  15. Have Kilauea's eruptions been gentle, explosive, or both? Give support for your answer.
  16. Finally, you'll see what's currently going on at Kilauea with an eruption update. Summarize the latest Kilauea activity.