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lava lake Molten lava, usually basaltic in composition, held in a depression (e.g. a large caldera or crater) over a magmatic vent. A lava pond may form where a lava flow fills a topographic depression. Large lava lakes found in lava-flooded calderas or craters often display surface features indicating the presence of numerous thermal convection cells within the lake. Lava lakes may be sustained for many years (e.g. Kilauea Crater, Hawaii, which has been an important tourist attraction, and at present there is a continuous lava pond at Pu'u O'o, Hawaii).