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Caverns of Fire

Lava Tubes, Hawaii - Dec. 2007

Lava tubes form when the surface of hot flowing lava cools and crusts over, forming a roof over the flow. This insulates the lava and keeps it in a hot, liquid state which allows it to flow for tremendous distances. When the eruption ends and the lava drains out of the tubes, caves are left behind. These caves differ from regular caves in that they can be formed quickly, in a matter of days or weeks rather than over thousands of years of erosion. This makes for very interesting formations but also makes the caves more unstable.

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