By Nick


Oh my this is so cool, and by cool I mean 1600 degrees hot! A project at Syracuse University in the states is melting basalts and then pouring them down slopes, creating man-made lava flows. Its known as the lava project and its so awesome!

The project is a collaborative piece between geologist and a sculptor. But they are getting some really interesting scientific results, learning more about the interactions between lava flows and the surface they run over. For example, how lava flows interact with ice is important for learning how icelandic lava flows might behave. They are even publishing papers in geology from all the cool stuff they are learning. They’ve been trying different viscosities, adding crystals to the mix, all sorts of things.

One thing that is proving difficult though, is getting dissolved gases involved. Real-world lava flows involve a lot of escaping gas, which of course is hard to get back into the lava, when you melt basalts which have already degassed millions of years ago!

More details on the project can be found here, or try here for a decent article! There are videos abound! This looks like the ice video here:

Also: 666 posts for OnCirculation, with this one being written (but alas not published) on Halloween! Spooky.