lava in space : LUSENET : Introductory Geology, Oswego State : One Thread

If molten lava got into space would it cool off or stay hot?

-- Christi Stahl (, February 27, 2001


I feel that if molten lava ever got into space that it would cool off. The reason why is because in space there is no atmospheric pressure, therefore allowing matter to cool much faster than on earth.

-- Donnamarie Bollmann (, February 27, 2001.

Thats a very tough question. The lava will eventually cool and solidify as a rock. The question is how fast will the rock cool. I'm not sure if this answer is right, but I believe that the rock would cool slower than if it where on earth.

I think this is because in the vacuum of space, the rock can not conduct heat to other matter, it can only radiate the heat into the vacuum. Radiation is a lot slower and less efficient than conduction, so I'd imagine that the rock would cool slower.

On Earth, the lava will conduct heat into it's surroundings, and will also radiate some of the energy off too. It has both methods of dissipating heat.

However, the vacuum of space can be very cold, and also very hot (depending on whether you are in sunlight or the shade), which complicates the question further, because in the shade the lava would probably cool very quickly.

The best answer for this question is that it is conditional. Depending on how much matter is in the vacuum, ambient temperature of the vacuum, and a bunch of other fun stuff.

-- robert mcrae (, March 02, 2001.

I would think that this would depend on how close to the sun the lava is. But if it has traveled all the way to space from earth, I would guess it to be cold. How would the lava get into space though? There are volcanoes in space that shoot out hot lava at rapid speeds and intense distances. THe further away from the sun the volcano is, the more quickly it cools off and becomes solidified. There is a website that discusses volcanoes on Jupiter:

-- Deb RIchards (, May 03, 2001.

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