When a volcano erupts it spews volcanic lava. This phenomenon is very interesting, as well as dangerous. Therefore, we tell you what exactly this natural element is and we show you impressive images and videos.
Below you have an index with all the points that we are going to deal with in this article.
Definition and types
Volcano lava is magma when it rises through the volcano or earth's crust and comes to the surface. Likewise, magma is rock that due to high temperatures is molten. Therefore, the lava from a volcano is in a liquid state.
Once the lava has reached the surface, it usually travels a certain distance until it cools (initially it is between 700 and 1200 ºC), and dries or solidifies, at which point it becomes rock.
The speed of the descent of the lava varies depending on the materials by which it is formed. However, the average is 40 kilometers per hour. In this video we can see a case in which lava flows at high speed towards the sea, as if it were a waterfall. It is the Kīlauea volcano, in Hawaii:
As for the types of lava, there are several classifications, although one of the most widespread is the following:
- Its name comes from the Hawaiian and means stony with rough lava. It is quite rigid, so it has pointy pieces.
- it's cooler and harder, so it doesn't move much. This is because it comes out after the volcano has ejected a large amount of gases.
- when lava comes out underwater, in the sea, contact with it causes it to cool quickly and acquire rounded shapes.
- This word is also Hawaiian and means soft. Lava flows slowly and can travel long distances, which is why it is round in shape.
Uses and properties
Volcanic lava, once solidified, has multiple uses for people. For example, in construction, it is used to make a type of concrete. Furthermore, this material is a thermal insulation.
Its use in the garden is also booming, either for the care of plants or for decoration. The same goes for fish tanks.
On the other hand, being a porous stone, it has the ability to filter, which is why it can be seen in some wastewater treatment plants. Even volcanic charcoal is ideal for grills and barbecues.
Similarly, it is common to find small volcanic rocks in costume jewelry. Also, some people think that these stones have magical or healing properties, although this is not scientifically proven.
Lava can occur in various ways, some of them in an impressive way, such as the ones we narrate below:
Kawah Ijen, Indonesia
There are some volcanoes that attract attention because their lava has something special. One of them is the Kawah Ijen volcano, in Indonesia, where at night the lava is colored azul.
This is not because it is this color, but because this material is accompanied by gas with a high level of sulfur. Due to the collision with the oxygen in the air, it ignites and causes this color. However, during the day, the phenomenon cannot be observed. In this video you can see how amazing it becomes:
Ol Doinyo Lengai, Tanzania
Another special case is the Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano, also known as the mountain of god. This lava is the most fluid and coldest in the world (its temperature is around 590 ºC).
These special characteristics make the lava look black during the day, red at night, and when it comes into contact with water, it turns white.
Pico do Fogo, Cape Verde
Also, sometimes, lava can cause serious damage. The Pico do Fogo volcano in Cape Verde stands out, which usually erupts several times every century and the consequences are sometimes disastrous.
In 2014, during its last eruption, the volcano's lava engulfed entire towns such as Portela, roads and natural resources. We can see it in the following video:
Questions from users
Can you drink volcano lava?
No, carrying out this action would be deadly for the person, since the lava is at more than 700 ºC and, in addition, it is made up of components that are toxic to the human body.
What is the formula to make homemade volcano lava?
The ingredients needed to recreate the lava coming out of a volcano are, on the one hand, water and baking soda, and, on the other, a few tablespoons of vinegar. When vinegar comes into contact with baking soda, a chemical reaction occurs. You can add food coloring to the water to make it more like lava.
What happens if you put a can of cola in volcanic lava?
Contrary to what people think, there is no big explosion, but some parts of the can melt and it is finally slowly engulfed by lava.
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