Photo Information

Steam explosion caused by interaction of lava and sea water, Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii
Photograph by J.D. Griggs on February 3, 1988
Steam explosions (also called littoral explosions, because they occur at the shoreline, or littoral zone) result when lava meets the sea. In the photograph above, the explosion sprays fragments of lava into the air. The smaller pieces are carried by currents and deposited in bays to form black sand beaches.