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Cracks on a lava lake

Cracks on a lava lake

E390/0364

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Credit

BERNHARD EDMAIER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY BERNHARD EDMAIER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Cracks on a lava lake. The surface of the lava has solidified to form a crust (black) over the lake. Convection currents in the lava, due to the heat, pull and push at this surface. This leads to the cracks seen, with the lava (yellow) seen below the crust. Such cracking and movement of a crust is thought to be a small-scale version of the large tectonic plates that form the Earth's crust. Earthquakes and volcanic activity occur at the plate boundaries. Lava is magma (molten rock from beneath the Earth's crust) that is brought to the Earth's surface by volcanic activity. This is an active lava lake at the Erta Ale volcano in the Afar Triangle, Danakil Depression, Ethiopia.

Release details

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