The Awesome Power of Lava: Watch Metal Burn!

Remember when we poked some gentle fun at Hollywood and ‘splained that most lava flows are so slow that you can outwalk them? I wish I’d known about this video back then, because it shows how even pahoehoe flows – you know, that thin, runny stuff – are often so ridiculously slow that an elderly sloth could escape their wrath. But it’s not like they’re not powerful! In this video, you’ll see how powerful lava is. I especially loved the tree roots asploding. Pay close attention to the chain link fence as it burns – this stuff is so hot it sets metal afire! Also parking lots, tires, and, buildings. And the lavafalls – spectacular!

It’s interesting watching folks save the power poles. We humans are pretty clever, figuring out how to live with erupting volcanoes and all.

I’m declaring this week Volcano Week at Rosetta Stones. B and I just got back from back-to-back trips to Mounts Baker and St. Helens, and we’ve got lots of pretty pictures for you! Check back often for all the new goodies. We’ve even got some home-grown pahoehoe! And you’ll see what that orchard may look like two thousand years after those poor engulfed trees have wasted away.


Originally published at Rosetta Stones.

The Awesome Power of Lava: Watch Metal Burn!

11 thoughts on “The Awesome Power of Lava: Watch Metal Burn!

  1. 1

    This video is a wonderful find. Thanks for posting it.
    Now I finally really see how pahoehoe lava is formed. Is there another good video for ah’ah’ lava, or however that’s spelled?
    Also, now I see better how lava tunnels form. I was able to walk in some giant cold ones in Iceland and in New Zealand. Is there an accessible (<2 mile hike) lava tube that is cold that you know of in the lower 48 states? Thanks.

  2. rq

    Seriously, it’s Volcano Week, and this is all the advance warning I get???
    I am le disappoint. :( I have not bought enough snacks to carry me through.

  3. 6

    Here is a link to the website of Lava Beds National Monument in NE Ca. It lists lava tubes. This is the site of a basaltic shield volcano Here is a link to the geology brochure on the park (about 2/3 down is a link to download the geology brochure).

  4. 9

    Apropos of volcanos, one of my favorites — Cotopaxi, in Ecuador, very near the capitol of Quito — is rumbling to life! It’s currently being observed 24 hours a day. I climbed it in 2007 and got some amazing pictures of the caldera and the conical shadow of the mountain stretching off into the distance, and apparently climbs are still ongoing even now that it’s showing life again. Apparently they have measured “fluid movement” earthquakes, and parts of the mountain are bulging. If it does erupt (and it has a habit of erupting on a frequent basis, once or twice a century), it will be an explosive event, and could have serious consequences due to its proximity to Quito.

  5. 10

    Wow. That’s amazing. Who would have thought that they would be hanging out when there is ash being given off, not to mention the other issues like pH and temperature. I wonder how hot that water is.

  6. 11

    After learning about sharknados, I’m now trying to imagine sharks, volcanoes and tornadoes in one superlethal mix. Fire and water don’t mix, they say, but with CGI anything is possible, isn’t it?

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