Olivine-rich lava

Olivine-rich lava

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Credit: ALAIN BARRERE/LOOK AT SCIENCES/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Olivine-rich lava being held by a diver. Olivine is a green mineral found in various igneous rocks and lava. This lava is vitreous (glassy) and black because it cooled down quickly when the rock formed. In contrast, the olivine part cooled down over a longer time period, allowing the large, visible crystals to form. This sample is from the volcano Piton de la Fournaise (French for "peak of the furnace"). Piton de la Fournaise is currently (as of 2009) one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Photographed off the island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean.

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