Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

Photo Information

Lava pours directly from a severed lava tube into sea Wave splashing against lava triggers tephra-jet explosion Tephra-jet explosion seconds later
Photographs by D. Sherrod on December 20, 1997
Lava pours into the sea from a newly exposed lava tube (left) after the leading edge of an lava delta collapsed and an incoming wave triggers a tephra-jet explosion (middle and right). Most of the lava fragments fall into the ocean but many fall onto the edge of the delta (lower right, all photos). Since the intensity of individual tephra jets vary, an unexpected large explosion that hurls even more molten fragments onto the delta can seriously injure visitors who are trying to get a closer view of the activity. Tephra jets can be viewed safely from behind the original sea cliff, but not from the active lava delta.

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Updated: 2 June 2000 (SRB)