Science & Technology
Scientists succeed in making their own lava
By T.K. Randall
June 29, 2016 · 6 comments
Making your own lava is safer than visiting a volcano. Image Credit: YouTube / University at Buffalo
A team from the State University of New York at Buffalo created their own magma as part of an experiment.
When it comes to carrying out research on molten rock, trekking up the slopes of an active volcano is not exactly the safest of options - especially if it's likely to erupt at any moment.
To get around this problem, researchers in the US have come up with their own recipe for artificial lava which acts exactly like actual lava but without any of the dangers of climbing volcanoes.
The method involves mixing basaltic rock in to a high-powered induction furnace for around four hours - enough time to have it turn in to a liquid that is indistinguishable from the real thing.
The endeavour is part of an ongoing project to analyze exactly what happens when lava meets water and how that interaction can increase the explosive potential of icy volcanoes such as Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland which grounded air traffic with its huge ash cloud when it erupted in 2010.
"Events like that don't happen often, but there is a threat of a big impact when they do," said project lead Ingo Sonder. "As geologists, we want to understand the conditions that generate explosions - how much water do you need? How much time?"
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