Pahoehoe lava flow

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Image courtesy of Pete Mouginis-Mark, Hawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Hawaii is well known to have been created from volcanic activity, and the geologic hotspot below the islands is the most studied in the world. In this image, we see a type of lava flow known as pahoehoe at Kilauea. The image was used to illustrate a December Science article titled “Mantle Shear-Wave Velocity Structure Beneath the Hawaiian Hot Spot.” The lava flow originates from well below the surface of the Earth to the layer known as the mantle. The mantle, a cross-section between our planet’s crust and outer core, is an extremely hot layer of the planet, where temperatures range between 500 to 900 °C (932 to 1,652 °F) at the upper boundary with the crust to over 4,000 °C (7,230 °F) at the lower boundary with the core.