Shield Volcano Examples Worldwide

, Staff Writer
Updated December 21, 2020
Piton de la Fournaise as shield volcano example
    Shield volcano piton de la fournaise
    abadonian / iStock / Getty Images Plus
    Used under Getty Images license

Many of the biggest volcanoes in existence are shield volcanoes. This type of volcano is broad with sloped sides. Discover some shield volcano examples from around the world and their locations.

Shield Volcano Definition

A shield volcano has a broad shape due to having been formed by multiple lava flows. This type of volcano is formed as a result of lava flowing over a period of time. Because there are multiple flow points for the lava, a gently sloping surface is created. This surface resembles a warrior's shield, which is why they are described as shield volcanoes. Large shield volcanoes can be three to four miles in diameter.

Notable Shield Volcanoes

While there are many examples of shield volcanoes, a few are particularly notable due to factors like their size or how active they are.

  • Hawaii's Mauna Loa is the largest shield volcano in the world. It is on the Big Island of Hawaii.
  • All of the volcanoes in the Hawaiian Islands are shield volcanoes. Kilauea last erupted in 2020.
  • Reunion Islands' Piton de la Fournaise generally erupts one time per year (on average). It is one of the most active of all the shield volcanoes.

Shield Volcanoes in Africa

There are a number of shield volcanoes in Africa, with the majority located in Ethiopia and Kenya.

Ethiopia's Shield Volcanoes

Shield volcano locations throughout Ethiopia include:

  • Alayta
  • Kurub
  • Manda Hararo
  • Mat Ala
  • Asavyo
  • Dabbayra
  • Dama Ali
  • Erta Ale
  • Hayli Gubbi
  • Tat Ali

Kenya's Shield Volcanoes

Kenya is home to several examples of this type of volcano.

  • The Barrier
  • Emuruangogolak
  • Korosi
  • Menengai
  • Marsabit
  • Namarunu
  • Nyambeni Hills
  • Ol Kokwe
  • Paka
  • Silali
  • Suswa

Shield Volcanoes Elsewhere in Africa

Ethiopia and Kenya are not the only areas in Africa where there are shield volcanoes.

  • Nyamuragira - Congo
  • San Carlos - Equatorial Guinea
  • Sao Tome - Sao Tome and Principe
  • Piton de la Fournaise - on Reunion Island
  • Prince Edward Island Volcano - South African island
  • San Joaquin - Equatorial Guinea
  • Santa Isabel - Equatorial Guinea
  • Jebel Umm Arafieb - The Sudan

Shield Volcanoes in Antarctica

There are some shield volcanoes in Antarctica.

  • Andrus
  • Berlin
  • Montagu Island
  • Siple
  • Takahe
  • Toney Mountain
  • Waesche

Shield Volcanoes in Asia

Asia's shield volcanoes are located in Japan, Korea, Yemen, and Turkey. The country of Turkey straddles the border of Asia and Europe.

Shield Volcanoes in Japan

Japan's shield volcanoes include:

  • Abu
  • Fukue-jima
  • Kirishima
  • Nikko-Shirane
  • Numazawa
  • Oki-Dogo
  • Shiga
  • Washiba-Kumonotaira

Korea's Shield Volcanoes

Korea has just a few shield volcanoes.

  • Ch'uga-ryong
  • Halla

Middle East Shield Volcanoes

Yemen has a few shield volcanoes, while Turkey has two.

  • Hanish - Yemen
  • Jebel Zubair - Yemen
  • Karaca Dag - Turkey
  • Tendürek Dagi - Turkey
  • Zukur - Yemen

Shield Volcanoes in Kamchatka (Russia)

Kamchatka is a peninsula located in the far east of Russia, near its boundary with Asia. It is considered to be on Eurasia. There are hundreds of volcanoes on the peninsula, though fewer than 30 are currently active.

  • Akhtang
  • Bolshoi Payalpan
  • Elovsky
  • Fedotych
  • Geodesistoy
  • Iktunup
  • Kaileney
  • Kekurny
  • Kozyrevsky
  • Kulkev
  • Leutongey
  • Maly Payalpan
  • Nylgimelkin
  • Ostanets
  • Ozernoy
  • Plosky
  • Pogranychny
  • Severny
  • Shishel
  • Snegovoy
  • Terpuk
  • Tolbachik
  • Uksichan
  • Voyampolsky
  • Zaozerny

Shield Volcanoes in Europe

There are shield volcanoes in a few additional European locations.

  • Madeira - Azores
  • Theistareykjarbunga - Iceland
  • Pantelleria - Italy
  • Santorini - Greece

Shield Volcanoes in North America

There are quite a few shield volcanoes in North America, including some located on islands that are usually considered to be part of the continent.


Shield Volcanoes in the U.S.

There are several shield volcanoes in the northwestern portion of the United States (U.S.) and its Hawaiian Islands.

  • Belknap - Oregon
  • Brushy Butte - California
  • Hell's Half Acre - Idaho
  • Hualalai - Hawaii
  • Haleakala - Hawaii
  • Imuruk Lake - Alaska
  • Indian Heaven - Washington
  • Kahoolawe - Hawaii
  • Kilauea - Hawaii
  • Kohala - Hawaii
  • Kookooligit Mountains - Alaska
  • Mount Washington - Oregon
  • Newberry - Oregon
  • Wapi Lava Field - Idaho
  • Wrangell - Alaska
  • Mauna Kea - Hawaii
  • Mauna Loa - Hawaii
  • Medicine Lake - California
  • Nunivak Island - Alaska
  • Shoshone Lava Field - Idaho
mauna loa shield volcano
    View of Mauna Loa example of a shield volcano
    Wildnerdpix / Getty
    Used under Getty Images license

Mexico's Shield Volcanoes

Mexico is home to several shield volcanoes.

  • Socorro
  • St. Michael
  • Cofre de Perote
  • Guadalupe
  • Isla Tortuga
  • Los Atlixcos

Canada's Shield Volcanoes

There are a few shield volcanoes in Canada.

  • Heart Peaks
  • Level Mountain
  • Spectrum Range

The Aleutian Islands Shield Volcanoes

There are also a few of these types of volcanoes in the Aleutian Islands, which are considered to be part of North America.

  • Okmok
  • Yunaska

Shield Volcanoes of the Galápagos Islands

Officially part of Ecuador, the Galápagos Islands are located in the South Pacific. They are home to a number of shield volcanoes.

  • Alcedo
  • Cerro Azul
  • Darwin
  • Ecuador
  • Fernandina
  • Genovesa
  • Pinta
  • San Cristóbal
  • Santa Cruz
  • Santiago
  • Sierra Negra
  • Wolf
  • Marchena

Central and South American Shield Volcanoes

Central and South America are home to a few shield volcanoes.

  • Easter Island - Chile
  • Las Lajas - Nicaragua
  • Payún Matru - Argentina
  • Robinson Crusoe - Chile
  • San Félix - Chile
  • Santa Isabel - Colombia
  • San Martín - México
  • Sanford - Alaska
  • Zapatera - Nicaragua

Shield Vocanoes in Oceania

Oceania includes the continent of Australia, New Zealand and a number of islands located in the South Pacific Ocean.

  • Mayor Island - New Zealand
  • Newer Volcanics Province - Australia
  • Niuafo'ou - Tonga (South Pacific)
  • Ofu-Olosega - Samoa
  • Savai'i - Samoa
  • Ta'u - Samoa
  • Taveuni - Fiji
  • Savai'i - Samoa
  • Ta'u - Samoa
  • Taveuni - Fiji
  • Undara - Australia
  • Upolu - Samoa
  • Wallis Islands - South Pacific

Other Shield Volcano Locations

There are a few other examples in remote locations that are either uninhabited or sparsely inhabited.

  • Bouvet - remote island in the southern Atlantic Ocean
  • La Grille - on the island of Grande Comore in the Indian Ocean
  • Hierro - Canary Islands
  • Karthala - Indian Ocean
  • Marion Island - Indian Ocean
  • Tristan da Cunha - Atlantic Ocean

Exploring the Natural World

As you can see, there are many shield volcanoes, and they are everywhere. If this topic captures your attention, continue expanding your scientific knowledge by learning more about the natural world. Start by exploring the other types of volcanoes. Then you can move onto examples of gravity. Next, investigate some examples of organic compounds.