Origin of lava
Words nearby lava
LAVA VS. MAGMA
What’s the difference between lava and magma?
Lava is what molten (melted) rock is called when it flows out of a volcano or volcanic vent. Magma is what molten rock is called when it’s under the earth’s surface.
To be clear, in popular use, lava and magma are essentially different names for the same liquid-hot, charred orange ooze—which name is used depends on whether it is above or below the surface.
However, geologists and volcanologists have their reasons for using the two different terms to distinguish between forms of what is the same substance.
Magma doesn’t always become lava—sometimes it cools and solidifies beneath the earth’s surface. Sometimes, it collects in what’s known as a magma chamber. When it does reach the surface, it flows out as lava. The rock that’s formed when it hardens and cools can also be called lava, though this use of the term is uncommon outside of technical, scientific contexts.
The word lava is perhaps the more well-known of the two because that’s the one we see when volcanoes erupt (or when the floor turns into it).
Here is an example of lava and magma used correctly in the same sentence.
Example: Lava began flowing from the volcano three days after scientists detected movement of magma underground.
Want to learn more? Read the full breakdown of the difference between lava and magma.
Quiz yourself on lava vs. magma!
Should lava or magma be used in the following sentence?
The eruption resulted in a steady flow of _____ from the volcano.
How to use lava in a sentence
At El Malpais, explore one of many lava tubes, like the easy-to-access Junction Cave.27 Epic Trips to Start Planning Now|The Editors|September 8, 2020|Outside Online
Farquharson and Amelung made their case for rain-triggered lava at Kilauea April 22 in Nature.Did rain put the Kilauea volcano’s lava-making into overdrive?|Megan Sever|May 15, 2020|Science News For Students
He says that points to building pressure deep under the volcano’s summit before lava erupted out of cracks in the ground.Did rain put the Kilauea volcano’s lava-making into overdrive?|Megan Sever|May 15, 2020|Science News For Students
Heavy rains can trigger Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano to spout streams of lava.Did rain put the Kilauea volcano’s lava-making into overdrive?|Megan Sever|May 15, 2020|Science News For Students
In fact, the lava basement of the Von Kármán crater may be too deep for Yutu-2 to sense at all, his team suspects.Rover finds ‘layer cake’ below ground on moon’s farside|Lisa Grossman|March 25, 2020|Science News For Students
Volcanoes spewed lava and ash, ocean floors were thrust upward, sand and rock and shale settled into slurry.Napa’s Earthquake Is Not The Only Thing Shaking The Vineyards|Clive Irving|August 31, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Underneath, however, lies the permanently molten lava of Scottish memory and its sense of English repression.Queen Victoria’s Secret Scottish Sex Castle|Clive Irving|August 17, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Lava and ash fell for days; the sun was obliterated for three months.Book a Room for Two in a Santorini Cave|Joanna Eede|June 10, 2014|DAILY BEAST
It also has one of the tallest mountain ranges on the continent and the largest lava lake on Earth.Can Gorillas Save the Democratic Republic of the Congo?|Nina Strochlic|April 28, 2014|DAILY BEAST
No longer would they have crazy adventures like campus-wide paintball and lava matches.‘Community’ Season Finale: Greendale Stares into the Abyss, Again|Chancellor Agard|April 18, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Torrents of lava poured over the sides of the volcano and destroyed whole villages on the shores of the lake.Alila, Our Little Philippine Cousin|Mary Hazelton Wade
He trudged across burning lava on which his feet left their imprint; he had the appearance of a desperately dogged traveller.Honey-Bee|Anatole France
Here there are many craters and much basalt, or even lava; also hot springs.
South of this arid region, strewn with great lava stones, are the Rendile uplands, affording pasturage for thousands of camels.
From these fissures immense and repeated flows of lava spread over the Kapte and Laikipia plateaus.
British Dictionary definitions for lava
Word Origin for lava
Scientific definitions for lava
Cultural definitions for lava
A type of igneous rock that is formed when molten magma from a volcano hardens.