What the Heck Is This?

This is just part of a larger photo, and even the entire image is a little hard to make out, so I bet this close-up will befuddle a lot of people.

But once you know what it is, you'll go, "Oh, yeah!"

Hint: It's a frightening view from above.

Hint 2: It's a great shot of planet-making in progress.

Okay, here's what scientists say this is: A complex configuration deep within the vent cavity in Halema`uma`u crater on Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano. I'll say!

On the right side of the full image (below) you'll see lava pouring into the "complex configuration," spilling from a small cliff into this lava lake. Not a place you want to visit.

Got a strange or interesting photo related to science, nature or technology? What the Heck, send it to me and maybe I'll use it. And you follow me on Twitter or Facebook.

Lava flows off a small cliff and into a lava lake May 11, 2011 on Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano.
Lava flows off a small cliff and into a lava lake May 11, 2011 on Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano.
Credit: USGS