Related topics: volcano

New evidence of the Sahara's age

The Sahara Desert is vast, generously dusty, and surprisingly shy about its age. New research looking into what appears to be dust that the Sahara blew over to the Canary Islands is providing the first direct evidence from ...

Kīlauea lava fuels phytoplankton bloom off Hawai'i Island

When Kīlauea Volcano erupted in 2018, it injected millions of cubic feet of molten lava into the nutrient-poor waters off the Big Island of Hawai'i. The lava-impacted seawater contained high concentrations of nutrients that ...

Jurassic world of volcanoes found in central Australia

An international team of subsurface explorers from the University of Adelaide in Australia and the University of Aberdeen in Scotland has uncovered a previously undescribed Jurassic world of around 100 ancient volcanoes buried ...

Could humans live in lava tubes on the moon?

In 2017, Purdue University researchers helped discover a lava tube on the moon that could protect astronauts from hazardous conditions on the surface. Now, 3-D image reconstructions of lava tubes on Earth could help assess ...

Exploring a desert portal to other worlds

Ali Bramson clutched her neon pink umbrella as she trekked across the frozen lava that spilled from Amboy Crater in California's Mojave Desert. She and her fellow University of Arizona graduate students were tasked with identifying ...

Discovery of rare lava lake on remote sub-Antarctic island

A team of scientists has discovered a rare lava lake on a remote and inaccessible sub-Antarctic island. There are around 1500 land-based volcanoes on Earth, but despite the popular perception of steaming bubbling lava pools ...

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 ...

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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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