Aerial view of the northeast rift zone of Mauna Loa Volcano, Hawai`i. Dark lava flows spread away from the rift zone.
A rift zone
is an elongated system of crustal fractures associated with an area that has undergone extension (ground has spread apart). On the great shield volcanoes in Hawai`i, a rift zone consists of many different features associated with the rise and eruption of magma
from narrow dikes
, including eruptive fissures, cinder and spatter cones, spatter ramparts, pit craters
, lava flows
, ground cracks, and normal faults.