Pools of Fire

Lava lakes are extremely rare because they require active volcanoes with eruptions that produce enough active lava to produce them. Currently, there are only five lava lakes in the world: Erta Ale in Ethiopia, Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kilauea in Haiwaii, Mount Erebus in Antarctica and Villarrica in Chile.

Lava lakes are large volumes of molten lava, usually basaltic, contained in a vent, crater, or broad depression. Scientists use the term to describe both lava lakes that are molten and those that are partly or completely solidified. Lava lakes can form in three ways: one or more vents in a crater that erupts enough lava to partially fill the crater; when lava pours into a crater or broad depression and partially fills the crater; and atop a new vent that continuously erupts lava that slowly builds a crater that is higher than the surrounding ground. Although destructive and deadly, they do produce stunning photographs.

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