Volcanoes get a bad rap in the movies, but what goes on underneath the Earth’s crust can actually be a beautiful scene – especially if we can get a glimpse of it. The Kilauea volcano’s recent lava breakouts in Hawaii were captured on film, including its hypnotizing “skylights”, where the crust breaks and the fiery lava flow can be seen from above.
Lava tubes that form underneath the Earth’s surface can sometimes become too wide for the hardened crust on top to bear. Helicopters observed a spot where the tube had collapsed, revealing the red hot flow underneath. The “skylight” is estimated to be about 20 feet across and the speed of the rushing lava could be as fast as two meters per second.
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory describes the phenomenon as “capillaries beneath the skin,” a vivid image of the life-giving marvels that carry on just outside our awareness. Seeing just what nature is up to offers a rare peek at the little known charms in the deep corners of the world.
Images via Hawaiian Volcano Observatory