shield volcano

A gently sloping volcano in the shape of a flattened dome and built almost exclusively of lava flows.
A broad, low-relief volcano constructed by flows of relatively fluid lava (e.g. basalt: Spudis, 2000, p. 698). Flank slopes on shield volcanoes are typically < 5° (Zimbelman, 2000, p. 771).
Volcanoes with broad, gentle slopes and built by the eruption of fluid basalt lava are called shield volcanoes. Basalt lava tends to build enormous, low-angle cones because it flows across the ground easily and can form lava tubes that enable lava to flow tens of kilometers from an erupting vent with very little cooling. The largest volcanoes on Earth are shield volcanoes. The name comes from a perceived resemblance to the shape of a warrior's shield.
Photograph by D. Little (date unknown).
View of the NNW flank of Mauna Loa Volcano from the south side of Mauna Kea Volcano, Hawai`i; both are shield volcanoes.
Did you know?
Mauna Loa volcano on the Island of Hawai`i is the largest volcano on Earth. With an elevation of 4,170 m above sea level, its long submarine flanks descend to the sea floor an additional 5 km, and the sea floor in turn is depressed by Mauna Loa's great mass another 8 km. This makes the volcano's summit about 17 km (56,000 ft) above its base! The volcano is constructed of an estimated 80,000 km3 of basalt! For more information about Mauna Loa, see the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory website.
Of the 1,511 volcanoes known to have erupted in the past 10,000 years, 164 are shield volcanoes.
The largest volcano in the Cascades, Medicine Lake Volcano in northern California, is a shield volcano.
Shield volcanoes generate some of Earth's largest landslides. A landslide from East Moloka`i Volcano on Moloka`i Island had a volume of about 500 km3 and slid at least 120 km across the ocean floor.
One of the largest known volcanoes in our solar system, Olympus Mons on Mars, is a shield volcano.

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

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Shield volcano — A shield volcano is a large volcano with shallow sloping sides. The name derives from a translation of Skjaldbreiður , an Icelandic shield volcano whose name means broad shield , from its resemblance to a warrior s shield. Information Shield… …   Wikipedia

  • shield volcano — /ˈʃild vɒlkeɪnoʊ/ (say sheeld volkaynoh) noun a volcano formed by repeated rapid flows of lava of low viscosity so that it becomes very broad but with shallow sloping sides; more or less in the shape of a round shield. Compare stratovolcano …   Australian English dictionary

  • shield volcano — noun Date: 1911 a broad rounded volcano that is built up by successive outpourings of very fluid lava …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • shield volcano — noun A large volcano, with shallow sloping sides and a flattened dome, formed of successive eruptions of free flowing lava; a lava dome …   Wiktionary

  • shield volcano —    A volcano having the shape of a very broad, gently sloping dome, built by flows of very fluid basaltic lava or rhyolitic ash flows.    Compare: stratovolcano.    GG & MA …   Glossary of landform and geologic terms

  • shield volcano — noun Geology a very broad volcano with gently sloping sides …   English new terms dictionary

  • shield volcano — noun : a volcano built up by successive outpourings of lava with little or no fragmental material and consequently having a diameter at its base many times as great as its height contrasted with stratovolcano; compare basalt dome …   Useful english dictionary

  • shield volcano —   a volcanic cone made up of multiple layers of basaltic lava …   Geography glossary

  • Volcano Winery — is one of three commercial wineries in the U.S. state of Hawaii, and the first winery founded on the Big Island of Hawaii in the town of Volcano, Hawai i, at the base of the active shield volcano Kīlauea. It is the southernmost winery in the… …   Wikipedia

  • volcano — /vol kay noh/, n., pl. volcanoes, volcanos. 1. a vent in the earth s crust through which lava, steam, ashes, etc., are expelled, either continuously or at irregular intervals. 2. a mountain or hill, usually having a cuplike crater at the summit,… …   Universalium

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