Thursday, April 4, 2024

Drunk on Volcanology - Lava Lake Wit


The next Drunk on Geology is for Lava Lake Wit from the Crazy Mountain Brewing Company, out of Denver, CO. 

To start off, a "lava lake" is just what it sounds like, a lake of lava, or to be more technical per the NPS:
A lava lake is a pool of molten lava that persists in a vent or crater of a volcano...
Of which the only lava lake in the United States is found on the Big Island of Hawaii in the caldera of Mount Kilauea.

View of the lava lake within Mount Kilauea's Halemaʻumaʻu Crater in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

Lava lakes, at over 2300 degrees Fahrenheit, are not very common across the planet at all, for obvious reasons. There must be a specific set of circumstances to maintain that liquid lava and not to eventually cool down forming igneous rocks. The lakes are maintained by the stream of volcanic gasses including sulfur within the caldera of the volcano that prevents the lava from cooling enough to solidify. 

Although the lava lakes are essentially "permanent" they do frequently drain and refill depending on the plumbing going on beneath the surface of the volcano as earthquakes and other forces redistribute the magma paths. 

Mount Nyiragongo in Congo. image courtesy of National Geographic

There are currently eight known lava lakes on Earth. Besides Mount Kilauea in Hawai'i, there are lava lakes in Ethiopia (Erte Ale), Antarctica (Mount Erebus), Vanuatu (Mount Yasure and Ambrym) and Nicaragua (Mount Masaya), with the largest known lava lake located in Congo (Mount Nyiragongo) measuring 820 feet in diameter and up to 2000 feet deep.

Looking at the back of the can, it says:
Slow down and take in the scenery with Byamba, one of the brighter creatures on Crazy Mountain. She boils the water for brewing with a zest for life that is contagious. Her personality is lively, refreshing and a little complicated. So pause for a moment and join her for an afternoon amid the blooming chamomile on Lava Lake. 

The text on the can made me wonder if that indeed we weren't only referring to a lava lake, as in a boiling lake of lava, but an actual place called Lava Lake. And it turns out that there is indeed a lake located kind of near Vail, CO called Lava Lake in White River National Forest. 

Lava Lake, CO

Which looks just like a cute little mountain lake on Lava Creek, although I'd prefer to take an afternoon next to an actual lava lake. 

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