DAVID PARKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID PARKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
SP volcanic crater. Aerial view of the SP volcanic crater with its cinder cone. The crater was named "Shit Pot" by early explorers because of its shape. Cinder cones form when bubbles of gas in the volcano's molten rock burst, throwing lava high into the air. The lava solidifies in flight, and falls to the ground making a conical pile of loose, cinder-like dry material. Volcanoes occur where faults in the Earth's crust allow molten rock from the planet's interior to reach the surface. The heat to melt the rock comes from a combination of radioactive decay, chemical changes occurring under high pressure, and friction during movements of rock. Photographed in Arizona, USA.
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