DR KEN MACDONALD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR KEN MACDONALD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Fractured pillow lava, formed at a deep ocean hydrothermal vent. Pillow lava forms when molten rock (magma) oozes out from underwater vents. When the molten rock makes contact with the cold water it rapidly solidifies, forming a hard crust. The inside of the rock remains molten for longer than the outside, and the flow of molten rock into the hard crust "inflates" the crust, forming these rounded pillows. Here, geological activity has caused fracturing of the formation. Parts of the submersible used to explore this area are seen across bottom. Photographed on the East Pacific Rise.
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