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Pillow lava display

An Unusual Coffee Table

On an expedition off the Galápagos Islands in 2010, scientists used a dredge attached to a cable to collect samples of volcanic rocks from the seafloor. When the dredge returned to the surface, scientists and crew were astounded to see that the cable had snagged between two bulbous pillow lavas weighing nearly 800 pounds and wrenched them up from the seafloor. WHOI scientists (from left) Dan Fornari, Mark Kurz, Adam Soule, and Eric Mittelstaedt had the sample sawed open and analyzed its composition. Now it rests in the foyer of the Clark Laboratory at WHOI—part table and part display telling the tale of its discovery (see slideshow).

(Photo by Katherine Spencer Joyce, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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