Pacaya Lava

August 27, 2010

Lava cropped

PhotographerPaul A. Heckert
Summary Author: Paul A. Heckert; Jim Foster

The photo above shows a close-up view of molten streams of lava flowing from the side of Guatemala's Pacaya volcano during May 2009. Pacaya's summit is at an elevation of 8,373 feet (2,552 m) and is only 19 miles (30 km) from Guatemala City. Pacava has been quite active since erupting violently in 1965. Most of the recent eruptions are Strombolian in nature with generally small amounts of ejected material. However, on occasion, Plinian eruptions powerful enough to force ash and dust into the stratosphere have been observed. We actually roasted marshmallows on one of the vents near these lava flows. Of course, before you decide to do this make sure that you're with someone who knows it's not dangerous to do so. Pacaya Volcano erupted again just three months ago (Spring 2010), about a year after this picture was taken on May 21, 2009.

Photo Details: Camera Maker: SANYO Electric Co., Ltd.; Camera Model: S1070; Focal Length: 17.1mm (35mm equivalent: 96mm); Aperture: f/5.2; Exposure Time: 0.0050 s (1/201); ISO equiv: 100.