and those stars, once spent of their lighter elements, fell in on themselves, spewing forth into space their heavier ones, which, in time, would unite under their weight into a massive super heated rock that, powered by its own nuclear heart, would again spew forth those heavier elements through fissures and tears in and around its solid, however thin and brittle, crust. 

photos from the halemaumau crater on kīlauea — a flat, broad shield volcano, encircled by a distant ring of fire, which has been spewing lava continuously for over thirty years as the pacific plate moves north westerly over the earth’s mantle — by (click pic) tom kualiijason weingartmiles morgankenji yamamurated gorechris galando and sean king (bonus:  ed coykendall)

A different type of lava tube

The lava tubes people see most, and occasionally tour, are created by flowing lava (http://tmblr.co/Zyv2Js1YY_xmG
). The lava cools most rapidly at the top, causing a crust to form that stands up even if the lava flow ends. This is a different type of lava tube.

This lava tube is found alongside the Coso Volcanic Field in California and it was created by erosion. Water flowing over rapids and waterfalls formed eddies that stayed in the same spot and cut downwards. This entire cave is a vertical tube with an almost rifle-style pattern left on the walls. No scale is given but it’s probably less than a meter across.


Image credit: https://flic.kr/p/q6jquM


Mostly Mute Monday: Volcanic Lightning

“During thunderstorms, approximately ten Coulombs of charge — some 10^20 electrons — are exchanged with every bolt, representing the release of an incredible build-up of energy.

During a volcanic eruption, however, the incredible heats cause neutral atoms to become ions, either positively or negatively charged, which then separate due to differences in masses, temperatures and physical cross-sections. The aerodynamics separates the particles even farther, and when the threshold of breakdown voltage is crossed, a lightning strike occurs.”

When it comes to lightning, you inevitably think of thunderstorms, rain, and the exchange of huge amounts of charge between the clouds above and the Earth. But there’s another sight that’s perhaps even more spectacular: volcanic lightning!