What do you think would happen if vat of molten lava was poured onto a sheet of ice?
Perhaps the lava melt straight through the ice, or freeze on impact?
The Outrageous Acts of Science channel recently invited sculptor Bob Wysocki and geologist Jeff Karson to explain a video they show which shows how the two substances interact. Almost 7 million curious YouTube users have watched the clip.
“The scrambled eggs from hell is the way it looks in that video. It just did things we didn’t really expect,” said Karson, who is Professor, Department of Earth Sciences at Syracuse University.
"It just did things we didn’t really expect.”
“I was stunned by what it did when it hit the ice,” said Wysocki, who is assistant an Assistant Professor at the institution’s Department of Art. The video shows the bright orange liquid being poured from above onto a run.
But rather than plummeting through the ice, the 1093C (2000F) lava slowly moves across the ice, and forms into bubbles while making a noise similar to a frying pan filled with boiling oil. Gradually, the bubbles blacken and harden into bauble like shapes.
This happens because the lava is so hot that the ice turns into steam, and bubbles through the lava.
As the lava cools, thick black layer forms which traps the heat, and is similar to glass blowing.
The lava doesn't melt through ice because the steam ice sits on top of a blanket of steam rather than on top of the ice itself. This means the friction between the lava and the ice is very low, experts explain in the video.
Dubbed the Lava Project, the pair have used basaltic lava, similar to that found on the seafloor and that which erupts from volcanoes in Hawaii and Iceland, in scientific and artistic experiments.