VHP Photo Glossary: Spatter

Close view of spatter

1. Photograph by J.D. Griggs on 13 June 1983


Very fluid fragments of molten lava ejected from a vent that flatten and congeal on the ground are called spatter. Typically, spatter will build walls of solidified lava around a single vent to form a circular-shaped spatter cone or along both sides of a fissure to build a spatter rampart.

Photo 1:

Clumps of molten lava (spatter) hurled above the rim of a spatter cone have already started to cool and develop a thin black skin on their surface. Width of the image is about 3 m.
Close view of spatter

2. Photograph by T.N. Mattox on 24 August 1993

Photo 2:

Close view of cooled, solidified spatter fragments hurled from an active littoral cone on the south shoreline of Kilauea Volcano. The impact of the molten spatter hitting the ground flattened the fragments into roughly circular disks.

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