JEREMY BISHOP / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JEREMY BISHOP / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Volcanologist wearing a gas mask and holding a camcorder as he stands next to a lava flow on the slopes of the volcano Mount Etna. Lava is molten rock that is produced by volcanoes as an upwelling of the magma found beneath the Earth's crust. The lava can range in temperature from 475 degrees Celsius (dim red) to 1150 degrees Celsius (white). It solidifies to form the black volcanic rock surrounding the flow. Other dangers on the slopes of a volcano include poisonous gases such as hydrogen sulphide, and lava bombs, chunks of molten rock ejected by the volcano. Mount Etna, standing 3323 metres tall on the Italian island of Sicily, is the largest active volcano in Europe.
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