Phenomena

Stepping on Lava

What happens when you step on lava? (First off, don’t try this yourself.) Lava is both very dense and very viscous, so, as illustrated in the animation above, it does not give all that much under pressure. If you were to fall on it, you’d land, sink a little bit, and then get burned. It’s also interesting to note that the lava springs back after being indented. Basaltic lava like that found in Hawaii, where this clip originates, does have viscoelastic properties, which might explain the elasticity of the deformed fluid. (Image credit: A. Rivest, source video; via Gizmodo)

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