Video shows how geologists collect samples from active volcanos — it’s terrifying

The Twitter account Wonder of Science posted a clip of geologist Tim Orr of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory sampling lava. The footage is from 2017 but no less heart-stopping. Orr was gathering the hot material from an active pāhoehoe breakout at Kīlauea Volcano. Pāhoehoe is the Hawaiian and scientific term for smooth, flowing lava. 

The Kīlauea Volcano has had a nearly continuous eruption at Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō, a volcanic cone located on its eastern rift zone, since 1983

In the clip, Orr, dressed in protective gear, uses a tool to scoop lava into a bucket with water. When he pierces the surface of the silvery sludge with the tool, it’s red, orange and fiery inside. Orr’s sampling is a routine part of monitoring the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō eruption, but it looks pretty terrifying. 

The video received 1.6 million views but most people just wanted to touch that lava. 

“I know I could never handle this job since the most fun looking thing to do is always playing with the lava,” a Twitter user joked

“I wanna touch this so bad,” another wrote

“I don’t know why but I just got an urge to touch it,” one person wrote

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the Kīlauea Volcano’s lava can get as hot as 2,140 degrees Fahrenheit. The sampling, however, is necessary to provide information about the magma activity inside of the volcano. 

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