Volcanologist by Mount Etna lava flow

Volcanologist by Mount Etna lava flow

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Credit: JEREMY BISHOP/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Volcanologist wearing a heat suit while climbing on solidified lava beside a lava flow from the volcano Mount Etna. Lava (molten rock) can range in temperature from 500-1000 degrees Celsius. The silvering of the suit protects the researcher by reflecting this heat. The pick axe is to obtain samples of solidified lava for analysis. Other dangers on the slopes of a volcano include poisonous gases, such as hydrogen sulphide, and lava bombs, chunks of molten rock ejected by the volcano. The rock on the edge of the flow could also collapse into the molten rock. Mount Etna, standing 3323 metres tall on the Italian island of Sicily, is the largest active volcano in Europe.

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