Hey Little Nerds! Welcome back for Serious Question #8. I heard a great question from Ethan on Friday night, so here we go! Ethan asked, “How hot is lava? Is it hotter than the sun?”
First, let’s talk about lava. When ice melts, it becomes water. When rocks melt, they become magma. When magma comes out of the Earth, it gets called lava. Melted rocks are very, very hot. Of course! But how hot is lava? Lava can be up to 1200° C. That’s… really, really hot. Let’s take a look at some numbers:
- Water freezes at 0° C.
- Your body is around 37° C.
- A wood fire is about 260° C.
- Lava is 1200° C. WOW!
How does lava get that hot? In the middle of the Earth, melted rocks are called magma. After magma comes out of the Earth, then it is called lava. The inside of the Earth is made of 3 main parts. The core is the middle of the Earth. After the core is the mantle. We live on the crust. That’s the outside part of the Earth. Magma is in the bottom of the mantle, and pushes up to the top of the mantle.
But let’s get back to Ethan’s second question. Is lava hotter than the sun? If you look back, you will see lava is 1200° C. I know that I said that is really, really hot… but the sun is much, much hotter.
- If you could stand on the sun, it would be 5500° C.
- Outside of the sun, it’s even hotter. 2,000,000° C. (this part is called the corona)
- The middle of the sun is CRAZY hot. 15,000,000° C.
Fifteen Million Degrees.
So, Ethan. Lava is hot, but… no. Lava is not hotter than the sun.