Related topics: volcano

The moon is still geologically active, study suggests

We tend to think of the moon as the archetypal "dead" world. Not only is there no life, almost all its volcanic activity died out billions of years ago. Even the youngest lunar lava is old enough to have become scarred by ...

Big Island residents struggle a year after historic eruption

A year after a volcano on Hawaii's Big Island rained lava and gases in one of its largest and most destructive eruptions in recorded history, people who lost their homes and farms in the disaster are still struggling to return ...

On the front lines in Kilauea

In the early spring, volcanologists monitoring the ground around Kilauea, the most active volcano on the island of Hawai'i, noticed a significant increase in seismicity, a sign of an impending eruption. Meanwhile, in Palisades, ...

Rehearsing for the Mars landings in Hawaii and Idaho

Imagine astronauts on Mars, tasked with picking rock samples that will be used by scientists to search for signs of life. But they can only transport a limited number back to Earth. What should they look for? Are some types ...

Scientists measure thickness of Kilauea lava flows in Hawaii

Scientists measuring the thickness of Kilauea volcano's newest lava flows have said molten rock added as much as 180 feet (55 meters) of lava to parts of the Big Island last year. New land created in the ocean reaches as ...

Sunset Crater, San Francisco Volcanic Field

The San Francisco Volcanic Field is a 4,700 square kilometers (1,800 square miles) area in the southern boundary of the Colorado Plateau. The field contains more than 600 scoria cones active in the past six million years. ...

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Lava

Lava is molten rock expelled by a volcano during eruption. When first expelled from a volcanic vent, it is a liquid at temperatures from 700 °C to 1,200 °C (1,300 °F to 2,200 °F). Although lava is quite viscous, with about 100,000 times the viscosity of water, it can flow great distances before cooling and solidifying, because of both its thixotropic and shear thinning properties.

A lava flow is a moving outpouring of lava, which is created during a non-explosive effusive eruption. When it has stopped moving, lava solidifies to form igneous rock. The term lava flow is commonly shortened to lava. Explosive eruptions produce a mixture of volcanic ash and other fragments called tephra, rather than lava flows. The word "lava" comes from Italian, and is probably derived from the Latin word labes which means a fall or slide. The first use in connection with extruded magma (molten rock below the Earth's surface) was apparently in a short account written by Francesco Serao on the eruption of Vesuvius between May 14 and June 4, 1737. Serao described "a flow of fiery lava" as an analogy to the flow of water and mud down the flanks of the volcano following heavy rain.

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