Explosive experiments with lab-made lava reveal hidden volcanic physics (video)

Lab-made chaos!

Lava is one of the most awe-inspiring substances on Earth, whether it’s flowing gently or blasting violently out of the ground. But what makes it switch between one or the other? To investigate the physics of interactions between lava and water, researchers from the University at Buffalo have conducted experiments on lab-made lava – with some explosive results.

Water and lava interact pretty regularly in nature, but the outcomes aren’t always easy to predict. To get a better understanding, the Buffalo researchers mixed the two together under different circumstances to see what happens. The results could help us determine how safe or unsafe a particular eruption is to nearby communities, if occurring near bodies of water.

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