What Causes “Blue Lava” Flows?

Now, I know a lot of people have seen these photos and videos going around online. And I’m sharing some of them here again. Thanks to Snopes.com we’ve also learned the affect is not caused by actually blue lave, but by the sulphur seeping from the volcano and burning above it’s surface.

courtesy of http://www.oliviergrunewald.com/
courtesy of http://www.oliviergrunewald.com/

So, These Got Me Thinking:

  • What kind of landscape and world would create blue lava?
  • What would the geology of such a world be like?
  • What causes the lava to glow blue?

Here’s Some Of My Thoughts:

  • A world where this kind of thing could happen regularly would have to be a little different from our own.
  • Here’s some thoughts on the geological aspects & coloration:
    • There are a few things that burn blue, and many of them are based on alcohol, metal salts or natural gases.
    • These substances burn with a “clean flame” since they produce no ashes.
    • So, if there were eruptions of blue lava, there is a good chance that a lot of what produces the coloration would be potentially poisonous, but people would not choke on clouds of ash, or be buried under pyroclastic flows.
  • Another possibility is that the flows are caused by unnatural means:
    • What if the color came from some ancient magic?
    • There would likely be local legends, and myths about how the mountain became blessed/cursed to produce such lava flows.
    • There could even be legends of creatures trapped under the mountain, that breath blue flames…

Of course, there are so many more possibilities, and I’d love to hear some of your ideas…

Drop me a note in the comments, and share your own thoughts.

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