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Glassy Pillow Lava, Marianas Trench


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Pillow lava seen while exploring the Santa Rosa Reef near Guam. Comparison of bathymetry collected in 2013 and 2015 indicated that an eruption left a layer of lava over 100 meters thick. Some of the mounds seen on this exploration were composed almost entirely of glassy pillow lavas. The glass forms when molten lava erupts on the seafloor and comes in contact with very cold seawater, immediately quenching the lava, forming long tubular or round shapes. The glass is important for geochemists because it allows them to determine the composition of the erupting lava. 2016 Deepwater Exploration of the Marianas expedition.

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