How Hot is Lava in Fahrenheit?

Why is Lava Hot? Why do Volcanoes erupt? How to measure Temperature of Lava? What do different Colors indicate?
volcano lawa. how hot is lava in Fahrenheit

We all know about volcanoes and the extremely hot, burning rocks that come out when they erupt. This red and hot material is called Lava. Read below to learn why is lava hot or how hot is lava in Fahrenheit.

1. What is Lava?

The extremely hot liquid and semi-liquid rocks located beneath the Earth are known as Magma. The temperature of magma is so high that when it flows below the surface of the earth, it cause holes and passages. And when it flows out of the mouth of the volcanoes, it is called lava. The different types of lava vary depending on composition and temperature. Basically, lava is rich in basaltic and silica. Level of silicon ranges roughly between 45% and 52%.

2. How does Lava Flow Out?

Underneath the surface of the Earth, there’s a mixture of solids, liquids, and gases which keep interacting with each other under high temperature and pressure. So, when the tectonic plates move, the magma being lighter in weight than rocks, rises above them. Along with liquid magma, steam rises and tries to escape through the openings in the earth. Since there is no way for the gases to escape, pressure builds up under the Earth’s surface, causing an exploding burst of magma from the volcanoes.

Similarly, a volcanic eruption can also happen when water interacts with hot magma. This creates intense steam, which builds up pressure for the magma to explode out of the volcano as lava. (Read What Is Earth’s Core Made Of?)

3. Why is Lava Hot?

Since lava is melted magma that lies near the core of the Earth, its temperature goes far beyond imagination. Just think how hot the core of the earth must be to melt rocks into liquid and semi-liquids. So, how hot is lava in Fahrenheit? On an average, the temperature of lava lies between 1292 °F (700 °C) to 2,190 °F (1,200 °C). This also explains why is lava hot, extremely hot. The lavas initially burst in liquid form as the temperature is very high, but once it is on the surface of the Earth, it begins to cool down as the temperature decreases. This lava then becomes solid. (See How Hot Is The Sun)


4. How Many Active Volcanoes Exist?

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), there are about 1350 active volcanoes at present. And Indonesia is known as the country having the maximum number of active volcanoes. Additionally, Mount Tambora located in one of the islands of Indonesia exploded two hundred years ago and was considered the most dangerous eruption in human history. Since then, the country remains at risk of severe volcanic eruptions.

5. Which Volcano Erupts with the Hottest Lava?

Hawaii is a volcanic country with regular eruptions recorded time and again. The highest temperature recorded at the time of eruption of the Kilauea lava was about 2,140 °F. Additionally, the lava in the tubes under the volcanoes has a temperature up to 2,200 °F. (See Why Do People Live Near Volcanoes)

6. How Hot is Lava in Fahrenheit?

We all know that the temperature of lava is at its highest when it erupts from volcanoes. As it settles down, the temperature decreases quickly. Thus, the color of the lava can be used to measure how hot is lava in Fahrenheit. 

  • As it erupts, the color is bright orange and the temperature is at 1,832 °F to 2102 °F.
  • The yellow color of the lava indicates a temperature of 1,832 °F to 2,192 °F.
  • The orange color indicates that it is cooled down a little bit more. At this time, the temperature ranges between 1,472 °F to 1,832 °F.
  • When lava has a dark red shade, its temperature falls in the range of 1,112 °F to 1,472 °F.
  • When the color reaches a brownish-red then it is close to 1,200 °F. 
  • Finally, the lava turns black when it has cooled and solidified. However, the temperature remains relatively high.

7. How is the Temperature of Lava Measured?

You may be wondering how the temperature of the lava is measured. The device used for this purpose is called a thermocouple. The probe is made of dissimilar metals connected to an iron and copper wire and inserted into the flowing lava. The voltmeter attached to it reads the temperature. The accuracy of the temperature depends on how well the thermocouple settles within the lava. Thermal imagery and heat maps are also drawn to measure temperature. (Also read How to put out someone on fire?)

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