Exploring the Surprising Effects of Lava Meeting Ice

In an experiment involving pouring red-hot lava onto the ice, geologist Jeff Carson and artist Bobby Saki were asked what they thought would happen. The results were surprising, with the lava not exploding or tunneling through the ice as expected.


Instead, volcanic bubbles were formed. The lava was so hot that it instantly turned the ice into steam, which then bubbled through the lava. While it appeared that the lava was boiling, it was actually the steam being produced that was trying to escape.


As the lava cooled, a thick black layer formed on top, trapping the bubbles of superheated steam inside the rock. This process is like a natural form of glassblowing. The formation of steam also helped the lava to flow, as it was sitting on top of a blanket of steam rather than in contact with the ice surface, reducing friction between the two.


The experiment was taken to the next level by pouring lava into water, sand, and snow, resulting in surprising and beautiful effects. By pouring lava into water, it was observed that the lava formed a hardened crust as it cooled, with the steam escaping through holes in the crust. Pouring lava onto sand created small explosions and led to the formation of glassy material, while pouring it onto snow created unique patterns and formations.


In summary, when lava meets ice, it creates volcanic bubbles due to the hot lava turning the ice into steam, which then bubbles through the lava. The formation of steam helps the lava flow and reduces friction between the two surfaces. The experiment was taken further by pouring lava into water, sand, and snow, resulting in surprising and beautiful effects.

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