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Definition of lava

The strict geological definition of lava is an extrusive magma, or a molten rock that has flowed onto the surface of the earth or other planetary bodies. Such rocks are usually basaltic or mafic in composition, but can form many different rock types.

The term is also used less formally for any rock that formed from a lava, again usually basaltic rocks.

Morphological varieties are (Wikipedia):
ʻAʻā lava: basaltic lava characterized by a rough or rubbly surface composed of broken lava blocks called clinker.
Pāhoehoe lava (Pahoehoe lava): basaltic lava that has a smooth, billowy, undulating, or ropy surface. These surface features are due to the movement of very fluid lava under a congealing surface crust.
Pillow lava: a lava structure typically formed when lava emerges from an underwater volcanic vent or subglacial volcano or a lava flow enters the ocean. However, pillow lava can also form when lava is erupted beneath thick glacial ice.

In Russian a third meaning of word "lava" exists - masses of coal crushed inside of pit and ready for uplifting to the surface. (Pavel Kartashov).

Pahoehoe lava flows

Lincoln Co., New Mexico, USA
A'a lava flows near the summit

Mauna Loa Summit, Hawaii Co., Hawaii, USA


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