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Difference between Magma and Lava

Magma and Lava are molten rocks with almost the same characteristics. These two are in liquid and semi-liquid form. Magma and Lava are almost the same things, but it is differentiated based on their surface and the location where each is formed or located. Simply put, magma is molten rock present inside the earth's surface, but when it comes out of the vent of a volcano, it is called lava. Let us now briefly discuss both and learn about the notable differences between them.

Magma: What is it?

The term 'Magma' has been derived from ancient Greek. It is typically a hot liquid form of rock melted at a high temperature. We all know that the earth consists of four layers: the inner core, outer core, mantle, and crust. This Magma is usually formed in the mantle layer, covering the earth's surface. When molten rock is pushed upward and eventually passes through the vent channel, it transforms into igneous rocks and reaches the Earth's surface. Magma is found near mid-ocean ridges or inside the earth's crust. It is liquid or semi-liquid. The reason for being liquid is its high pressure along with the utmost temperature. The dissolved gases are elements of Magma.

Difference between Magma and Lava

The Magma contains melted solid rocks along with minerals that have been crystallized. The temperature of Magma varies from 1300 to 2400. It is usually at the greatest temperature. The Magma takes time to cool down due to its hot temperature. We consider the location of magma when we measure its temperature. It forms various layers because it is found underground. When magma cools down, the amount of water in it reduces. An example of this is granite which contains about 1% water.

Types of Magma

There are different kinds of Magma. However, the common element included in all magmas is silicon dioxide. It is present in almost all forms of magma. Some of the notable types of magma include Basaltic, Andesitic, and Rhyolite. Let's talk about them in short:

  1. Basaltic: There is a high amount of calcium and magnesium found in this Magma. On the other hand, sodium and potassium are found in less quantity in this type of Magma. The temperature of this Magma typically varies from 1832°F to 2192°F.
  2. Rhyolite: In this, the quantity of material or ingredient found is opposite to what is present in the Basaltic. Iron and calcium are found in low quantities here, whereas sodium and potassium are found in larger quantities. The temperature here varies from 1202°F to 1472°F.
  3. Andesitic: It is the Magma in which all the materials or elements are found in moderate quantity, whether sodium, potassium, calcium, or iron. The temperature of this type of magma varies from 1472°F to 1832°F.

Formation of Magma

Notably, there are two plates found below the earth's surface, namely the oceanic and continental plates. When these two collide, parts of one or both of these plates move into the layer below the core, the mantle. When that oceanic plate drops and sinks, fluid comes out called Magma. Later, this Magma gets collected into chambers. When the chamber gets filled with Magma completely, it creates pressure, and when that pressure reaches its peak, it leads to a volcanic eruption.

Lava: What is it?

To know about lava, it is important to know about magma which we have already discussed. This is because lava is not a new thing but magma itself. When Magma comes out at the earth's surface due to volcanic eruption, it is called Lava. Lava is an Italic term. It is the hot molten rock in the form of a semi-solid. The minerals such as mica, oxides, and silica get mixed to form Lava. The viscosity is somewhat higher in Lava. Its temperature varies from 1300 to 2200 degrees and is found in oceanic or volcanoes. It cools down more quickly than Magma despite its highest temperature.

Difference between Magma and Lava

There are some specific classifications of lava based on its composition.

Types of Lava Flow

  • Pahoehoe: This Lava is smooth and gentle. Viscosity is found less in it. The Pahoehoe lava later becomes Aa lava. This Lava cannot be transformed into the original state after it gets broken. Its temperature varies from 1100 to 1200.
  • Aa Lava: This Lava is found in pieces. The layer of this Lava is usually loose and fragmented. Aa lava is further divided into basaltic, andesitic, and so on.
  • Blocky Lava: It consists of larger blocks and is smooth. It has no restrictions like Aa lava in terms of its temperature or the composition of silica present in it.
  • Pillow Lava: Pillow lava is in the form of a pillow. It is hard and rocky. It is found underwater. Volcanic rock with a thick pillow structure has a diameter of lava. It is generally spread over an area of 1 diameter.

Formation of Lava

We already know the formation of Magma and are aware of the fact that Lava is nothing but Magma only. So, when that Magma gets filled in the chamber, it creates pressure, leading Magma to come out of the surface. When the Magma comes out through the vent, it is known as Lava. Otherwise, it is the same except that Magma is found inside the earth's surface and Lava outside.

Difference between Magma and Lava

Magma Lava
The term 'magma' has its origin from the ancient Green. The term 'lava' has its origin from the Latin.
Magma refers to a burning hot liquid and semi-liquid rock that is found under the surface of the Earth. Lava is a typical form of magma that erupts out of heated volcano vents in the surrounding areas, particularly on the surface of the Earth.
It is typically situated below the crust of the Earth. It spreads to the earth's surface through the mouth of the volcano.
It typically fluctuates between a usual temperature of about 1300 to 2400 degrees Fahrenheit. It typically fluctuates between about 1300 to 2200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Facts about Magma and Lava

Magma and Lava are the same molten rock. The minerals are similar, except that the Magma constitutes dissolved gases, whereas Lava constitutes silica. Magma has high pressure, due to which it stays in a liquid form. The composition of things determines the behavior of magma as lava. Lava doesn't show the temperature or pressure as magma but highly focuses on the flow. When we compare Magma with Lava, both have viscosity, but Lava is more liquid than Magma and hence has less viscosity. The thickness of both varies.

Difference between Magma and Lava

Disasters occurring from Magma and Lava

Environmental Disaster

  1. Wildfires: The volcanic eruption that the Lava causes can bring wildfires, which may further affect the forest and vegetated area.
  2. Drinking Water Contamination: The gases produced during the formation of Lava and Magma can contaminate the pure water, thus leading to polluted water.
  3. Flood: The hot ashes can melt the glaciers and snow. When that snow is melted due to excessive Lava or Magma, it leads to flood.
  4. Power Outage: When the ashes get mixed with the power supply, it leads to a power outage.

Health Disaster

  1. Asthma: Most gases like carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and other gases remain in the air nearby magma or lava. The sulfur dioxide that remains after a volcanic eruption can cause difficulty in breathing.
  2. Irritation in Eyes: The volcanic eruption due to Magma may lead to irritation in the eyes which is caused due to dangerous gases.
  3. Headache: It might also cause headaches and dizziness.

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