Lava, it’s not just the stuff that built out planet. It is also one of our planet’s most beautiful art forms!

Recently, a few members of the EWC Team visited Iceland, and if there is one thing you are struck with upon visiting this volcanic wonderland, it’s that there is something entrancing about lava. Whether it is creating vast wastelands of dark, moss-covered rock, or towering above you in hills of red, orange, and black, lava is in many ways, Earth’s most beautiful building block.

Very few of us have the opportunity to see a lava flow in person, and volcanic eruptions tend not to be something the average person wants to be near. These factors, combined with the fickle nature of volcanic activity, make it very difficult for scientists to study the intricate details of how lava flows work and are formed.

So, how do you find a volcano that lets you control the variables? You build one yourself in upstate New York!

Let us introduce you to the Syracuse University Lava Project. Lead by artist Robert “Bob” Wysocki and geologist Jeff Karson, this cross-disciplinary project is home to a host of scientific experiments, artistic endeavors, and community outreach.

For a closer look at the Lava Project, we turn to NPR’s science channel, Skunk Bear, who ventured to Syracuse to check it out firsthand!

There really is something beautiful about molten rock, isn’t there?

Now that you know a little bit about the process of creating your own lava, here’s an experiment the Lava Project tried that went viral a few years ago when they poured lava over a sheet of ice.

The results are really quite incredible, and the science behind it is pretty cool too!

Our planet is made up of some pretty remarkable forces. From volcanoes, to glaciers, to the seafloor, and everywhere in between, take a moment to appreciate how many natural wonders are on this Earth.

The Lava Project reminds us that we know so little about Earth’s most awesome forces, and also how beautiful those forces can be.

Lava is a living reminder of the fragility and power of our planet. It has been here since the dawn of our planet, and will be here long after we are gone. Perhaps this is why it is so beautiful. It is the sculpture of our planet, a signature of our beautiful world.

Stay beautiful & keep laughing!

-Liesl

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Notes:

  1. “Stone Soup: How To Make Lava.” YouTube. Skunk Bear, 25 June 2015. Web. 22 Aug. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25tYMaB70AI>.
  2. “What Happens When Lava Meets Ice?” Youtube. Science Channel, 13 Mar. 2015. Web. 23 Aug. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvSmPqqZB3Q>.

Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

COO Ever Widening Circles

Liesl is a camera-toting traveler, a global story seeker, and an aspiring—but more often floundering—yoga lover. She can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV