Illustrated Volcano Glossary

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lava bench

Volcanology
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.

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.
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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