By varying experimental conditions we have been able to create a very wide range of lava morphologies that are also found in natural lava flows. A sampling of these results illustrates how different parameters can affect the final morphology of the flows.
Subaerial Flow Morphologies
Summary of flow morphologies produced by varying slope, temperature (T) and effusion rate (Q) in Lava Project experiments. Additional experiments will quantify the transitions between different morphologies.
Details of Subaerial Flows
Very different flow morphologies produced on different slopes under at the same conditions (1150°C): 20°slope (left), 5°slope (right).
Part of 8-ton lava pahoehoe flow produced in the large blast furnace showing lobate structures.
Lobate pahoehoe flow formed on a 5° slope at ~1150°C.
Central part of a pahoehoe flow collapses as two break-outs form downslope.
Internal Structure of Flows
Experimental lava flow with high vesicle content.
Experimental lava flow with brownish core rich in crystallites.
Drained lava tube with drips from ceiling.
“Picrite” flow with dense green olivine-rich core (about 4 cm thick).
Exotic Lava Features
Pele’s tears produced by dripping lava.
Lava bubbles forming from water vapor released from clay surface.
Glowing bubble formed by water vapor escaping from beneath a flow.
Lava flow arrested at a barrier.
Lava bubbles form on an eroded slope as water in wet sand below is vaporized.
Pele’s hair produced by pouring lava through a powerful air stream.
Pouring lava on to an ice ramp generates many bursting bubbles.
Flood of melt water formed downslope of a lava flow over ice.
Delicate glass bulb formed when a droplet of lava fell on to snow.
Texture of lava surface that was poured over ice.
Detail of lava poured over ice.
Pouring lava into an ice channel.
Pillow lava break-out under water in large water tank.
Highly fragmented pillow lava lobes formed in a large water tank.
Lava flow diverted around a barrier.
Lava diverted around complex barriers analogous to rough terrain.
Pouring lava over algae as a possible analog for an ancient Mars surface.
Elementary school student experiment with apples and pebbles dropped into flowing lava.