what is the main difference between lava and magma

what is the main difference between lava and magma

The variations between magma and lava might be each delicate and sophisticated, however to place it merely, we name it magma when it’s beneath the bottom (hasn’t erupted), and lava after it erupts.

Lava circulate on Hawaii. Lava is the extrusive equal of magma. Picture through Hawaii Volcano Observatory (DAS)

What’s magma

Magma is a posh combination of molten rock (or half molten). Apart from the minerals, magma may also comprise suspended crystals, water, carbon monoxide or different gasoline bubbles.

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Magma kinds tens of kilometers beneath the floor, within the mantle or deep within the floor, the place the temperature and stress are excessive sufficient to energy its formation. Magma is usually shaped in subduction zones, continental rift areas, mid-ocean ridges and hotspots.

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Magma develops and accumulates in areas known as magma chambers, and might migrate in the direction of the floor when it’s much less dense than the encompassing rocks. Nonetheless, if it begins to rise, it encounters decrease and decrease temperatures, the place it might begin to solidify – and it usually does, even earlier than it reaches the floor.

Nonetheless, if it does attain the floor, then it may well accumulate in a chamber nearer to the floor, create a volcano, and erupt in the direction of the floor, the place it turns into – you’ve guessed it – lava.

Cross-section via a stratovolcano displaying how the magma can migrate from the magma chamber (1) to the floor, via a volcano.

What’s lava

It’s not like one thing elementary adjustments when the magma reaches the floor – it’s extra a naming factor than a physics. What’s totally different nonetheless is that magma usually sits in sizzling chambers, and when it reaches the floor and turns into lava, it rapidly solidifies because of the a lot decrease temperatures.

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Technically, lava is any molten rock expelled by a volcano in any manner. However the rocks shaped instantly via cooling can be known as lava, which generally is a little bit complicated. To make issues even worse, a shifting, outpouring of lava is known as a lava circulate – however that’s usually shortened to lava as effectively. Most frequently although, we confer with lava as a singular circulate or eruption.

Volcanic eruption at Kilauea, through USGS. Volcanic eruptions can be underwater.

There are a number of forms of lava, relying on the chemical composition, temperature, and different particularities, however describing them goes past the aim of this text. Similar to magma, it’s made up of crystals, volcanic glass, and bubbles (volcanic gasses). Nonetheless, when it cools down, it begins to solidify and crystals begin to type. The slower it cools down (the slower it migrates in the direction of the floor), the larger the crystals. If it erupts quick and violently, no crystals can type as a result of there’s not sufficient time for the matter to crystallize in an ordered trend.

The distinction between lava and magma

The deeper you get into geology, the extra complicated this query truly turns into. However until you wish to get your palms actually soiled, simply name it magma when it’s beneath the bottom, and lava when it erupts. Lava is the extrusive equal of magma.

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