Different Types of Lava


How much do you know  about different types of lava and volcanoes?

These moody giants have been here from the very beginning, sometimes very silent but occasionally angry and violent.Here you can read about different types of lava.

Mineral Composition of Lava

There are different types of lava (it is called “magma” until it breaks to the surface).

Basically, all of them consist of several elements: phosphorus, oxygen, silicon, sodium, potassium, aluminum, iron, magnesium, and calcium. However, it is silica (SiO2) that we base our classification of lava upon.

Therefore, there are three types of lava: Basaltic lava ( low content of silica, low viscosity ), Andesitic lava ( medium content of silica, medium viscosity) and Rhyolitic lava (high content of silica, high viscosity).

Lava “Fingerprinting”

Today all volcano researchers agree that even without determining mineral content of lava you can know what type it is by looking at shapes that are created after lava has cooled down. Some even suggest that these shapes are similar to taking fingerprints from a human being. Since there are variety of shapes and colors of hardened lava, we can also divide lava into three groups: a’a lava, pahoehoe lava and pillow lava. These Hawaiian names have been given because of Hawaiian Islands volcanic nature.

Pahoehoe is thick-flow lava that creates very interesting shapes when cooled down. It is often very dark in color, so when it hardens, it seems like a field of asphalt. Sometimes when this lava reaches obstacles such as rocks, it just flows over it or around it, creating smooth surfaces with waves.

A’a( pronounced ah-ah) is a type of basaltic lava completely different from pahoehoe lava.

Pillow lava is created when eruption occurs under the ocean. In contact with cold water, lava is cooling very rapidly creating pillow like rocks.

During the last two decades, interest in volcano studies has been growing very rapidly, along with science progress. Nowadays we can find valuable knowledge about lava. Perhaps this knowledge will help us find the answers to the most asked questions about the Earth’s beginnings.

One Response to “Different Types of Lava”

  1. infometr says:

    Thanks for the great post and for sharing some really good tips.

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