Scientists are creating their own "home-brew" lava and pouring it at a test station to understand how water interacts with hot, molten rock.
Heating the rock
The experiment starts with pieces of basaltic rock, shown here. Such rock can have explosive reactions when it interacts with water, but in other situations, water and lava cause no noticeable effects. Scientists want to understand why that is.
Heating up the rock
The rock is then heated up to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit (1,371 degrees Celsius) and turned into molten lava.
Pouring the lava
The lava is then poured into a metal tube that mimics the subterranean channels through which lava feeds underneath volcanoes. From there, the team plans to add water and use an array of sophisticated sensors to understand exactly what happens.
Cleaning the machine
Here, geology student Andrew Harp chips residue from the furnace.
Testing water reaction
Here, experiment lead Ingo Sonder, a geologist at the University at Buffalo chips away rock residue on the furnace that is used to make the lava.