Illustrated Volcano Glossary

lava bench

Volcanology
A lava bench in formation: active lava flows covering a small beach, forming a solid cap.
A lava bench in formation: active lava flows covering a small beach, forming a solid cap.
A lava bench is a platform formed by new lava flows that extends the old shoreline; in particular, this can be observed on Hawaii at Kilauea volcano during times when lava is entering the ocean, forming new land.
In their young stadium, benches are highly unstable. They often are underlain only by loose material such as sand and wave-eroded rock. Young benches can collapse at any time, and it is life-threatening to stand on one. Only after a long time, when the pile of material under and in front of the bench is sufficiently stabilized, the bench can be considered new stable land.
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