Thursday, 29 June 2017
| Can’t understand the heat, get into the kitchen | Letters

Added: 07.03.2017 6:54 | 65 views | 0 comments

Kate Ravilious says scientists from Buffalo University are trying to find out why eruptions of volcanic lava sometimes, but not always, produce explosions and pump vast quantities of ash into the sky, as in the case of Eyjafjallajökull in 2010 <(a href="" title="">Terrawatch, 4 July). She says the exception is the case of the so-called “pillow lavas”, which “pile up in gentle blobs on the sea floor”. Maybe the clue is in “the sea floor”, where the sea would be likely to overwhelm and cool the lava, whereas a relatively thin layer of ice in the case of Eyjafjallajökull would be quickly heated up and turned to steam? Most cooks will know that a different effect is produced when a small quantity of a cold liquid is added to a hot liquid, rather than the other way round. A lumpy sauce is often the result in the former case.
Janet Poliakoff
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