How Hot Does It Get?

Eruptive products of Hawaiian volcanoes span a wide range of temperatures. To familiarize yourself with these temperatures and the temperatures scales answer the following questions. To convert degrees Celsius to degrees Fahrenheit, use this equation:

			 F = (C x 9/5) + 32  
To convert degrees Fahrenheit to degrees Celsius, use this equation:

			 C = (F - 32) x 5/9  
Students can check the equation by remembering that 100 C = (212 F - 32) x 5/9. Use the equations to answer these questions.


  1. Lava pouring out of the lava tube is about 1150 C. How hot is the lava in F?

  2. Steam generated at the interface between lava and water is estimated to be 135 C. How hot is the steam in F?

  3. The maximum water temperature measured in front of the lava entry was 70 C. How hot is the water in F? Could you go for a comfortable swim in this water? Hint: Convert your body temperature (98 F) to C and compare to the water temperature.

  4. About 60 feet (200 m) offshore, the water that was heated by the lava has been diluted by colder ocean water, and temperatures are typically 36 C. Could you go for a comfortable swim in this water?

  5. Tephra from the Puu Oo high fountains glowed yellow and orange. These colors indicate a temperature of about 1000 C. What was the temperature of the lava fountain in F?

  6. On some days, rangers take visitors out to see cooling lava flows. The flows typically have cracks in a thick, black crust. Deep in the cracks, the lava still glows red. The temperature of the red lava beneath the crust is about 500 C. What is the temperature of the red lava in F?

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