Lava Physics

Lava is rather fascinating as a fluid. Lava flow regimes range from extremely viscous creeping flows all the way to moderately turbulent channel flow. Lava itself also has a widely varying rheology, with its bulk properties like viscosity and its response to deformation changing strongly with temperature and composition. As lava cools, instabilities form in the fluid, causing the folding, coiling, branching, swirling, and fracturing associated with different types and classes of lava. (Image credit: E. Guddman, via Mirror)

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