Q:

What is the difference between magma and lava?

A:

Magma and lava are the same substance in two different forms. Magma is molten rock that is found beneath the earth's crust, while lava is what magma becomes once it reaches the surface and erupts from a volcano or crack in the earth.

Magma can also contain many other components besides just molten rock, including gases and crystals. This mixture maintains a temperature between 1,600 and 2,400 degrees Fahrenheit. The molten rock often contains silicon, iron, carbon, aluminum, magnesium and different alkalis. Magma is heated by geothermal convection and pressure. Typically, it is found several kilometers beneath the earth's surface.

The composition of lava determines whether its flow is explosive, fast-moving or slow and highly viscous. Temperature plays a less significant role in the look and feel of the volcanic rock that forms once the lava cools down. Pumice is one igneous volcanic rock that is shaped by its composition and the type of eruption. As lava violently shoots into the atmosphere, it rapidly cools and decompresses, allowing air bubbles to permeate the rock, leaving a bubble-marked texture and a light weight. Obsidian, on the other hand, is a high-silica rock that forms from quick-cooling lava found on the ground in highly viscous flows.


Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    What is magma made out of?

    A:

    Magma is a liquefied mixture of rock, crystals and dissolved gas. While this fits the general description of magma, it has three distinct observed types: basaltic, rhyolitic and andesitic.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How does a volcano form?

    A:

    A volcano forms when a vent in the Earth's crust allows magma to well up from below. The magma fills a void underneath the surface, and when it builds up enough pressure, it bursts through to the surface. As the magma cools, it hardens into rock, and multiple eruptions may build up the mountainous form of a volcano.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What do you call hot lava cooling?

    A:

    When magma rises up to the surface of the Earth from a volcanic eruption or through vents, it turns into lava. When this lava stops flowing and cools, it hardens into what is known as igneous rock.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore