What Happens To Lava After It Erupts From A Volcano?

When a volcano erupts, it spews out a mixture of hot gases, ash, and molten rock known as lava. The lava flows down the sides of the volcano, covering everything in its path. But what happens to the lava after it erupts from a volcano?

Lava Flow

After it erupts from a volcano, lava flows down the sides of the volcano in streams or rivers. The speed and distance of the lava flow depend on the viscosity of the lava. If the lava is thick and sticky, it will flow slowly and form a lava dome near the vent. If the lava is thin and runny, it will flow quickly and cover a larger area.

Cooling and Solidification

As the lava flows, it begins to cool and solidify. The surface of the lava cools quickly, forming a crust, while the interior remains hot and molten. Eventually, the entire mass of lava cools and solidifies, forming solid rock.

Lava Tubes

Sometimes, the outer crust of a lava flow hardens while the interior remains molten. This can create a lava tube, a tunnel-like structure through which lava continues to flow. Lava tubes can be several meters in diameter and can extend for miles.

Volcanic Features

After the lava has solidified, it can form various volcanic features such as lava domes, lava plateaus, and lava fields. Lava domes are mounds of solidified lava that form near the vent of a volcano. Lava plateaus are large, flat expanses of solidified lava that cover a wide area. Lava fields are areas covered with solidified lava flows.


Over time, the solidified lava weathers and erodes, creating unique landscapes. Lava flows can form rugged, rocky terrain with sharp edges and jagged cliffs. The minerals in the lava can also enrich the soil, making it fertile for plant growth.


After it erupts from a volcano, lava goes through a series of processes that ultimately lead to the formation of new landforms and landscapes. The cooling and solidification of lava create volcanic features and shape the Earth’s surface in fascinating ways. So the next time you see a lava flow, remember that it is just the beginning of a long and complex transformation process.

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