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Reeling in a Big One

In 2010, scientists aboard the research ship Melville investigated seafloor volcanism near the Galápagos Islands by lowering a chain-metal basket called a dredge via a steel cable to the seafloor to collect lava samples. When they hauled the dredge back to the surface, they were amazed to see what wasn't in the basket—the cable itself had snagged a bulbous pillow lava weighing nearly 800 pounds and wrenched it up from the seafloor. To look inside, the scientists brought the lava to a quarry to cut it in half. Parts of the lava were later made into a display and a coffee table now in the foyer of the Clark Laboratory at WHOI. (See slideshow.)

(Photo by Dan Fornari, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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