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Lava in Vent, Kilauea Volcano

Lava in Vent, Kilauea Volcano

C028/5038

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Credit

STEPHEN & DONNA O'MEARA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY STEPHEN & DONNA O'MEARA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Kilauea Volcano, Big Island, Hawaii. Molten lava lake in a vent on Kilauea Volcano. The molten lake's surface cools when it is exposed to the cool night air, but convention currents within the molten lake crack the fragile skin, causing zig-zagging fissures to cut across its surface, exposing the white-hot lava below. The rafting crustal segments on a churning lava lake mimic Earth's crustal plate movements during the much-slower process of plate tectonics.

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