Massive ancient lava flow seen from space looks like a giant black scar on the New Mexico desert - Livescience.com

Massive ancient lava flow seen from space looks like a giant black scar on the New Mexico desert - Livescience.com

Massive ancient lava flow seen from space looks like a giant black scar on the New Mexico desert - Livescience.com
Sep 29, 2022 1 min, 5 secs

Live Science is supported by its audience.

The 50-mile-long lava flow is one of the largest of its kind on Earth.

An astronaut on board the International Space Station (ISS) has snapped a stunning photo of an ancient lava flow stretching across the desert in New Mexico.

It is located near Carrizozo, a city in the Chihuahuan Desert in New Mexico, and is one of the largest lava flows to have formed on Earth in the past 10,000 years, according to the U.S.

The stitched-together shot, which is one of the most detailed aerial images of the lava flow ever taken, was released online Monday (Sept. 26) by the NASA Earth Observatory (opens in new tab). .

A majority of the lava in the image emerged from a small, 88-foot tall (27 meters) vent, which locals have dubbed "little black peak," located at the north end of the lava field (the left-hand side of the image).

The uneven, textured appearance of the frozen lava is the result of light scattering off fissures, collapses and depressions in the volcanic rock, according to Earth Observatory.

The ancient lava field may seem lifeless from above, but a number of desert plant species, such as prickly pear cactuses (Opuntia), perennial flowers, and juniper trees, can grow in the frozen magma, according to Earth Observatory.

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