JAN 03, 2018 10:15 AM PST

When lava meets ocean

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This rare footage taken in February of 2013 by photographer Kawika Singson shows up-close the process of an island being made. Of course, we know it takes a long, long time to actually make an island, but geology is a paradox in that it acts incredibly slowly and seemingly unnoticeably while also at times fast and furiously. This video of lava meeting the ocean represents the later. It took place in Hawaii, which is a hot spot for volcanic activities, as hot, ropey lava fell into the ocean to produce a new layer of basalt.

So how does the process actually work? When the lava drops into the ocean it quickly cools; at the same time, the boiling lava turns the ocean into steam and this difference in temperatures and textures results in globby layers that can pile up to make new land. But, don't get too close (until like this photographer!) - these layers can topple over easily and cause huge landslides. Want to see more in action? Watch the video!
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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