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Volcanic Hot Spots

Molten messengers from deep within the earth

Kilauea, a volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii, has been erupting for more than 22 years. That marathon eruption is just one of the features that make this tropical peak stand out in the volcanic crowd. Kilauea's lavas, which often wend their way to the sea, where they create towering plumes of steam are richer in iron than those from most other volcanoes. Also, Kilauea's locale is odd. The majority of volcanoes lie near an edge of one of Earth's tectonic plates, but Kilauea sits far out in the North Pacific, more than 3,000 kilometers from the nearest plate boundary.

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