Magma is molten rock that is deep underground.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of Boise National Forest
Pretend that you are an explorer traveling to the center of the Earth. You would find that the deeper you travel, the hotter it gets! Beneath the crust, in the mantle layer, it is hot enough that rock can melt. When rock melts and turns into a liquid, we call it "molten". The molten rock is called magma. Magma is so hot that it glows bright white. You would need sunglasses to look at it!
If magma flows into an area underground that is less hot, it cools, becomes yellow, and then red. As it cools slowly, minerals form crystals making a plutonic rock like granite.
If magma finds a crack in the Earth and comes to the surface, it is called lava!
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
The Fall 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist
, focuses on rocks and minerals, including articles on minerals and mining, the use of minerals in society, and rare earth minerals, and includes 3 posters!
You might also be interested in:
Minerals are the building blocks of rocks. There are many different types of minerals. All of them are solid and all are made of atoms of elements. Minerals can grow even though they are not alive. Most...more
Mount St. Helens, a volcano on the west coast of the United States, has been quiet for 18 years. But in the last week it has not been quiet at all! It has been puffing steam and ash and a flow of lava...more
These types of igneous rocks are made deep underground. In fact, it is possible that below your feet, deep within the Earth there are igneous rocks being made right now! There, hot magma cools very slowly....more
A group of scientists have been studying an area of the ocean floor called the East Pacific Rise, which is about 565 miles southwest of Acapulco, Mexico. The East Pacific Rise is a ridge along the ocean...more
Scientists have learned that Mount Hood, Oregon's tallest mountain, has erupted in the past due to the mixing of two different types of magma. Adam Kent, a geologist at Oregon State University, says this...more
Spotting minerals is fun! There are many different types of minerals. Each has a different name and special traits. You can learn more about minerals by looking closely at them to understand their special...more
This mineral is called quartz! Sometimes it looks white like milk but usually it looks clear like glass, sometimes with a little pink or gray tinge of color. You can find crystals of quartz in many different...more