Lava Flows in Hawaii Originall Called Pyroduct

An article on the history of volcanology notes that Titus Coan, a Christian missionary in Hilo between 1835 and his death in 1882, who theorized how lava could travel so far from its vent. Coan was one of the first to document lava flows as he climbed up Mauna Loa and noted openings (now called skylights) through which they could see a molten lava stream below, flowing at a rate of 20 miles per hour. Coan said “As these lower branches [of the flow] were pushing slowly along upon level ground, and as the feeding flood had ceased to come down upon the surface from the … vent, but flowed in a subterranean duct or ducts …” and he called them “pyroduct” His observations were later challenged but are now accepted although pyroduct hasn’t quite caught on.


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