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May 30, 2018

Falling into lava would be a pretty hot mess

<em>Lava fountains&nbsp;at&nbsp;one of Kīlauea’s fissures on May 23rd, 2018.</em>

As Hawaii’s Kīlauea volcano keeps regurgitating molten rock, the US Geological Service continues to post amazingly terrifying photos and videos of lava spewing up in the air and taking over land. The lava is scorching hot, it glows bright orange, and it has the power to gobble up anything that crosses its path. So, what would happen if you touched it?

The lava coming out of Kīlauea is over 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit (about 1,170 degrees Celsius). “It’s much hotter than anything you’d get in your stove at home,” says Erik Klemetti, assistant professor of geosciences at Denison University. Dipping your hand into molten rock won’t kill you instantly, but it will give you severe, painful burns — “the kind that destroy nerve endings and boil...

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