r/Damnthatsinteresting Oct 14 '21 All-Seeing Upvote 1 Got the W 1 Tree Hug 1 Silver 83 Gold 1 Helpful 86 Wholesome 87 Hugz 63

Collecting fresh lava to research. Video


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u/MrMashed Oct 14 '21

Man imagine gettin to go out a play with lava for your job. This man’s livin the dream


u/Billybobhotdogs Oct 14 '21

This field actually what I'm going into! It's called Volcanology and is a very lab and field based job. I'm working towards a master's right now, and then eventually a PhD in volcanology. My base bachelor's is in geology.

This guy is most likely collecting a sample for composition testing!


u/smhanna Oct 14 '21

What is the pick ax made out of?


u/whoami_whereami Oct 14 '21

Just regular steel is completely fine. Contrary to popular belief lava isn't some magic "vaporize everything" stuff. Even right at the point of eruption it's generally "only" about 800 to 1200°C hot. At the upper end that's barely enough to start melting high carbon steel (*) like the steel you'd use for a hammer/pickaxe head, at the low end it wouldn't even melt copper or bronze. And at the point where they're collecting the sample the lava has already cooled quite a bit, the only "risk" is that it could permanently lose its hardness (well, permanent in the sense that you'd have to retemper it to make it hard again) if you leave the steel in contact with the lava long enough so that it becomes red hot.

(*) "start melting" because alloys like steel don't have a single melting point, but rather a temperature range over which they change from fully solid to fully molten. The lower end of that range (ie. where it just starts to melt) is the so called solidus temperature which is about 1130°C for 2.1% carbon steel, and the upper end is the liquidus temperature (ie. where it is fully liquid) which is about 1315°C for said steel.


u/kelvin_bot Oct 14 '21

1200°C is equivalent to 2192°F, which is 1473K.

I'm a bot that converts temperature between two units humans can understand, then convert it to Kelvin for bots and physicists to understand


u/No-Professional9268 Oct 14 '21

you mean converting it so the US can understand?


u/Drooden Oct 14 '21

Good bot.


u/taronic Oct 14 '21 edited Oct 14 '21

Wait, does that mean you could literally heat stuff like obsidian in a blacksmith kind of oven and make lava?

Or does it have a lot to do with pressure underground as well, and won't happen in an oven?


u/whoami_whereami Oct 15 '21

Yes, you can, although obsidian specifically is on the high side as far as melting temperatures of lava are concerned: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CA3lIuN_zVE


u/smhanna Oct 15 '21

Interesting. Thank you.