lava tube

A tunnel formed when the surface of a lava flow cools and solidifies while the still-molten interior flows through and drains away.
A hollow region, commonly found within crystallized pahoehoe lava flows, which was filled with hot, flowing lava during a volcanic eruption. Lava tubes are formed when the top surface of a channelized lava flow crystallizes, and the magma flowing in the interior of the lava flow drains during and/or immediately following a volcanic eruption.
Lava tubes are natural conduits through which lava travels beneath the surface of a lava flow. Tubes form by the crusting over of lava channels and pahoehoe flows. A broad lava-flow field often consists of a main lava tube and a series of smaller tubes that supply lava to the front of one or more separate flows. When the supply of lava stops at the end of an eruption or lava is diverted elsewhere, lava in the tube system drains downslope and leaves partially empty conduits beneath the ground. Such drained tubes commonly exhibit "high-lava" marks on their walls, generally flat floors, and many lava stalactites that hang from the roof. Lava can also erode downward, deepening the tube and leaving empty space above the flowing lava.
Photograph provided by Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.
Thurston (Nahuku) lava tube, shown here, is near the summit caldera of Kilauea Volcano in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.

Glossary of volcanic terms. - University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. . 2001.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • lava tube —    A natural, hollow tunnel beneath the surface of a solidified lava flow through which the lava flow was fed; the tunnel was left empty when the molten lava drained out.    MA & GG …   Glossary of landform and geologic terms

  • lava tube —    See lava cave …   Lexicon of Cave and Karst Terminology

  • lava tube — /ˈlavə tjub/ (say lahvuh tyoohb) noun a natural conduit in a volcano through which a lava flow travels before being expelled; forming a long channel once the rock has cooled …   Australian English dictionary

  • lava tube — …   Useful english dictionary

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