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Pahoeoe Lava Fountain

Pahoeoe Lava Fountain (Miscellaneous)

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Lava is molten rock expelled by a volcano during eruption. This molten rock is formed in the interior of some planets, including Earth, and some of their satellites. When first erupted from a volcanic vent, lava 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 Jun. 4, 1737 (282 years ago). 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.

Lava cascades and fountains

The eruptions of lava are sometimes attended by peculiarities which impart to them much additional grandeur. Instances have occurred in which the molten stream has plunged over a sheer precipice of immense height, so as to produce a glowing cascade exceeding (in breadth and perpendicular descent) the celebrated Niagara Falls. In other cases, the lava, instead of at once flowing down the sides of the mountain, has been first thrown up into the air as a lava fountain up to several hundred metres in height (see volcanic cone).


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