MICHAEL SZOENYI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MICHAEL SZOENYI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Nephrolepis brownii fern in hardened lava. Close-up of the fronds of a Nephrolepis brownii fern growing within cooled and hardened pahoehoe lava. This thick ropey-looking lava can flow at speeds of up to 50 kilometres per hour. It may harden in smooth sheets or ooze out and solidify into twisted rope-like formations (seen here). Pahoehoe lava is a type of basic lava with a low silica content, giving it a low melting point. This means the lava can travel great distances from the crater or vent from which it issued. Photographed on Big Island, Hawaii, USA.
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