(ORDO NEWS) — An image of an ancient lava flow crossing the New Mexico desert was taken by an astronaut on the International Space Station (ISS).
The frozen river of volcanic rock appears to be a deep scar on the desert below when viewed from above.
The new image was taken on June 30 by an unnamed ISS crew member.
“When viewed from a satellite, the massive ancient lava flow resembles a huge black scar in the New Mexico desert,” the astronauts say.
The lava flow of the Carrizoso Malpas volcano is about 80 kilometers long and covers about 337 square kilometers.
According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), this is one of the most unusual lava flows to have erupted on Earth in the past 10,000 years. It is located near the city of Carrizoso in the Chihuahuan Desert of New Mexico.
About 5,000 years ago, the Carrizoso Malpas volcano erupted and lasted for about 30 years. During this period, the underground volcano, which is now dormant, was slowly spewing lava.
The molten rock beneath the earth’s surface is littered with isolated lava tubes, according to the US Geological Survey.
One of the most comprehensive aerial photographs of a lava flow ever taken was released online on September 26 by NASA’s Earth Observatory.
While the ancient lava field may appear lifeless from above, the Earth Observatory reports that a variety of desert plant species can thrive in the solidified magma, including juniper, perennial flowers and cacti.
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