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This Erupting Volcano’s Lava Appears Blue, And Science Knows Why

14 Jan 2019, 15:01 UTC
This Erupting Volcano’s Lava Appears Blue, And Science Knows Why
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The one-of-a-kind blue color associated with the lava flows on Kawah Ijen volcano is not, as you might think, due to blue-colored lava. The scientific story is as fascinating as the images. (STÉPHANE DAMOUR / FLICKR)Sometimes, chemistry can be more important for color than even physics.All across the world, volcanic eruptions remind us of the destructive power residing beneath Earth’s surface.You might be used to images of lava erupting from and flowing down active volcanoes, but that lava is normally dark, red, orange, or yellow. The blue that you see is unique to eastern Indonesia, and isn’t the color of the lava at all. (MICHAEL HEINIGER / FLICKR)Molten rock, known as magma, erupts through fissures in Earth’s crust, becoming lava.Lava erupts and flows from a Kilauea volcano fissure in Leilani Estates, on the Big Island, on May 23, 2018 in Pahoa, Hawai’i. (GETTY)If that lava rises above 525 ˚C (977 ˚F), it glows red, with hotter lavas becoming orange or even yellow.A slow shutter speed picture shows lava streaming down from Mount Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatoa) during an eruption as seen from Rakata island on July 19, 2018 in Lampung, Indonesia. The orange-red color allows us to determine the ...

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