Crystallization-Differentiation of the Kilauea Iki Lava Lake

This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection

This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are

  • Scientific Accuracy
  • Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
  • Pedagogic Effectiveness
  • Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
  • Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page

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This page first made public: Oct 27, 2005

Kent Ratajeski
Published Oct. 26, 2004.


Basaltic magma filling the crater of Kilauea Iki in 1959. Details

In this exercise, students use major-element compositions of whole-rocks, volcanic glasses, and minerals in lavas and drill cores from the solidified Kilauea Iki lava lake. The data is presented in the form of a "precompiled" spreadsheet which contains selected analyses culled from the GEOROC database and a USGS Open File report. Students make graphs from the data to learn about the petrologic processes related to the eruption and in situ crystallization of basaltic magma.

This exercise is one of several examples featured in the Geoscience Education in the New Cyberinfrastructure module at SERC. Each example is designed to give instructors and students direct practice for using cyberinformatic databases and tools to analyze Earth science data. Students should begin on the Case Study page.

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