Lava fountains. Fountains of orange lava spurting out of an active volcano. As the lava flows and cools (at lower centre), it begins to turn black. Lava is molten rock which reaches the Earth's surface through faults in the crust. Lava is known as magma before it reaches the surface. Lava fountains like this are caused when the magma contains volatile chemicals that form bubbles of gas. The rock beneath the crust is molten because of heat generated by radioactive decay and by friction between the Earth's plates as they move. Photograph of a lava flow from the La Fournaise volcano on the island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean. This volcano is about 2631 metres high.
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