DAVID HARDY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID HARDY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Illustration of different types of volcanic bomb. A volcanic bomb is the generic name for a piece of lava thrown out by a volcano and over 32mm in diameter. The largest are the cowpats (top left), made by fluid lava blobs which are still liquid on impact. More viscous lava may solidify in mid-air and be drawn into more aerodynamic shapes, such as the spindle (top right). If the surface of the bomb solidifies but has a liquid core on impact, the breadcrust type is formed (centre left). Ribbons (lower right) are formed when streamers of lava solidify in mid-air, and may be several metres long. The tiny 'Pele's tears' are formed by droplets of very fluid lava (eg Hawaiian).
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