DR JUERG ALEAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JUERG ALEAN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Lava flow and a young plant. Active lava flow (upper frame, black and glowing red) advancing towards a young fern plant (lower frame) growing in an older lava flow. Lava is molten rock that rises from beneath the Earth's surface. It is hot enough to glow red and spreads out over the surrounding areas, destroying the vegetation. Eventually, the lava will cool, and new volcanic rock (black) will form. Between eruptions, the processes of erosion and colonisation by plants will break up the rock, eventually forming a rich volcanic soil that can support a large number of plants. This lava flow is from the Kilauea volcano on the Pacific island of Hawaii.
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