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Pillow lava underwater off Hawaii, USA

Pillow lava underwater off Hawaii, USA

E390/0418

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Credit

OAR / NATIONAL UNDERSEA RESEARCH PROGRAM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY OAR / NATIONAL UNDERSEA RESEARCH PROGRAM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption

Pillow lava underwater off the coast of Hawaii, USA. Pillow lava is a rock formation consisting of rounded masses of solidified lava. It forms when molten rock (lava) issues from an underwater volcanic vent. Contact with the cool seawater immediately causes a crust of solid rock to form on the liquid lava, but pressure from the vent inflates the crust with more lava before it can cool and solidify all the way through, forming the cracked and rounded lumps seen here. The Hawaiian islands are entirely volcanic in origin, having been formed from successive undersea eruptions.

Release details

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