Volcanic Littoral Cone
Volcano Terms and Definition


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Two hundred and thirty square miles leveled in moments Five hundred and forty million tons of ash and volcanic rock exploded twelve miles high One cubic mile of earth blasted from the crest of one of the world's most beautiful snowcapped domes Captured in rare and spectacular aerial photography and survivor's own words and pictures, witness the terrifying fury of the worst volcanic disaster in American history

Tephra generated by steam explosions built this small littoral cone along the southern shoreline of Kilauea Volcano, Hawai`i. Note pahoehoe flow nearing the ocean below the cone
Littoral Cone

A cone of lava fragments built on the surface of a lava flow pouring into a body of water, usually the sea, is called a littoral cone ("littoral" refers to a shoreline). Lava entering the ocean heats and boils seawater, often generating steam explosions that hurl tephra onto the shore, including spatter , bombs , blocks , ash, , lapilli , and, rarely, limu . As the various tephra accumulates on the shoreline, a well-developed cone may be created.
  • Once thought to be exclusively created by `a`a flows, many littoral cones have been observed recently on the surface of pahoehoe flows at Kilauea Volcano. Water easily penetrates the clinkery surface of an `a`a flow as it enters the ocean, thereby generating explosions that produce considerable tephra and large littoral cones. The smooth crust on most pahoehoe flows, however, keeps water from invading the the hot interior to trigger steam explosions and form the tephra needed to build a cone. But recent activity at Kilauea has shown that littoral cones form easily on pahoehoe flows above a lava tube that delivers lava to the sea. Incoming waves disrupt lava exiting the tube, which increases the surface area of the molten stream that is exposed to seawater by more than 10 to 20 times. Hundreds of small steam explosions at the open end of a lava tube will slowly build a littoral cone over a period of days to weeks.
  • Littoral is often mispronounced. The accent is correctly placed on the first syllable of the word, which means "beach".

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Volcano Glossary



NOVA - In the Path of a Killer Volcano
The scientists who remain behind- and see some astonishing footage of the world's largest volcanic eruption in 80 years. Local tribes people were the first to see the signs. "There was a flash of light from the sky"

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The most dazzling but destructive natural force on earth. Massive volcanic eruption can turn day into night, releasing the power of an atomic blast, spewing toxic avalanches of lava, gas, and ash. National Geographic Video transports you to some of the world's most notorious volcanoes

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A subterranean sea of molten lava that scientists are sure will burst through the Earth's crust it's just a question of when. And if the resulting super-volcanic eruption is anything like the last one on earth which plunged the world into darkness for six years, tipped us into the last Ice Age and reduced the human population to just 2,000 people we're in for one explosive ride

          

           

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Source:
U.S. Department of the Interior