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Active Lava Flow

This mosaic combines images collected in February 2000 and the summer of 1999 by the Galileo spacecraft to highlight new details of the longest active lava flow known in the solar system. The area, called Amirani, has been known to be the home of a number of volcanic hot spots. The Amirani flow field is indeed a quilt work of dark lava flows. The most recent lavas are darkest because they are too hot to be covered by sulfur-dioxide plumes. The liquid lava travels under a frozen layer of older lava, breaking out onto the surface. These observations are helping to explain how very large, ancient lava flows formed on the Earth.

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