What Is The Difference Between Magma And Lava?

Rohan Mathew

Updated on:

What Is The Difference Between Magma And Lava

Are you looking for the difference between magma and lava? Then this is the right place where you will get all your doubts cleared. I am going to tell what things make lava and magma different from each other. You will be surprised that you never came to know about these differences before. I will explain the things such as meaning, structure, etc about them. So let us start reading about the difference between magma and lava.

What Is The Difference Between Magma And Lava?

There is a major difference between magma and lava which is their occurrence in the volcanic site. You will think that both are hot and molten mass that is found in volcanoes. There are similarities of magma and lava in their appearances, however, there are many differences in them. 

I am going to explain all the points related to magma and lava differences in detail. But first, let us understand the meaning of magma and lava.

Click here – A Step-by-Step Guide To Breast Lift Surgeries 

What Is Magma?

Magma is the molten mass that is found below the surface of the earth. It is trapped and located inside the magma chamber in a semi-molten state. This is a very hot substance appearing in a viscous state found below the volcanoes. There are different types of magma called Basaltic, Rhyolitic and Andesitic. It is formed up of a mixture of small gases and minerals. The word magma was originated from Ancient Greek.

What Is Lava?

Lava is the hot liquid that flows out of the volcanoes when erupted. The fluid is nothing but the magma which is hot and gets solidified after cooling down hence sometimes also called liquid magma. It is differentiated as per the flow and they are called Pahoehoe flow, Blocky lava flow, Aa flow, and Pillow lava flow. The lava contains different elements such as crystals, liquids, bubbles, and some chemical elements. The lava word was of Italian origin.

We read the difference between magma and lava meaning now let us read more about the differences based on several parameters one by one.

Difference Between Lava And Magma

Here I have described the parameters that will help us to the difference between lava and magma more easily.

  • Occurrence

The occurrence will be easier to understand in the Venn diagram difference between magma and lava in tabular form comparison.


Magma occurs beneath the surface of the earth. It is trapped and generated inside the mantle of the earth which is the thick layer located between the earth’s crust and outer core surfaces.


Lava occurs at the time of the volcanic eruption when magma is burst out. The lava is spilling out of the volcanic crater, its sides, surfaces

Now let us read about the different types of the formation of lava vs magma in brief.

Click here – 8 Things you Need to Know Before Moving to San Jose

  • Types

The types also make one important difference between magma and lava and volcanic eruption masses.


There are three types of magma namely Basaltic, Andesitic and Rhyolitic. The Basaltic magma is formed in the lower crust and upper mantle containing iron and magnesium depleted in silica. Andesitic magma is formed in the continental crust region which crystallizes just after the eruption. Rhyolitic magma is created at the oceanic crust which forms porous solidified rocks with ash called pumice.


Four types of lava are formed after eruptions such as Pahoehoe flow, Blocky lava flow, Aa lava flow, and Pillow lava flow. The Pahoehoe flow forms smooth rocky surfaces with wave-like patterns. A rough block-like surface is formed due to the Blocky lava flow. The Clinkers are formed with the Aa lava flow. Volcanic rocks that you may see around the volcanoes are formed because of the pillow lava flow.

  • Contents

The contents make a difference between magma and lava in geography by chemical composition.


Magma is containing different chemical constituents such as silicon dioxide, aluminum oxide, calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium, titanium, phosphorus, manganese, and water.


The composition of the lava is having contents like minerals, silicates, olivine, pyroxenes, amphiboles, micas, quartz, feldspars, and some gases.

  • Temperature

The temperature difference between magma and lava and volcano is different. Let us see which is hotter magma or lava and their temperature variations.


The temperature of the magma ranges between 700℃ to 1600℃.


The lava has a temperature ranging from 700℃ to 1200℃.

  • Cooling Process

Let us see the cooling process between magma vs lava in the following.


The magma requires more time for getting cool. It is trapped below the surface of the earth hence cools down slowly. Sometimes huge crystals are formed while magma is cooling.


As lava is erupted out from the volcanoes it cools down quickly as compared to magma. The cooling process of lava forms a glass after crystallizing.


How Is Magma Different From Lava?

The magma is different from the lava as it is located and trapped below the surface of the earth. It is differentiated as magma until it is in molten formed into the magma chamber, when it is erupted out of the volcano it is called lava.

Why Are Magma And Lava Different Words?

Magma and lava are different words because both words are originated from different countries. The word magma is derived from Ancient Greek whereas the word lava is originated from Italian origin.

How Long Does It Take Lava To Turn Into Rock?

Solidification of flows ranging 20–30 m (65–100 ft) thick could take about 2.5–6 years. The thickest LERZ flows on land, which are approximately 55 m (180 ft) thick, may take roughly 20 years to reach a completely solid state.

Which Cools Faster Lava Or Magma?

When magma cools underground, it cools very slowly and when lava cools above ground, it cools quickly. When magma and lava cool, mineral crystals start to form in the molten rock.

Who Is The God Of Lava?

Pele is the Hawaiian volcano deity, an elemental force, and the creator of these volcanic landscapes. According to tradition, she is embodied by the lava and natural forces associated with volcanic eruptions.

What Is The Difference Between Magma And Lava Brainly?

Magma is composed of molten rock and is stored in the Earth’s crust. Lava is magma that reaches the surface of our planet through a volcano vent.

Is All Lava Once Magma?

Scientists use the term magma for molten rock that is underground and lava for molten rock that breaks through the Earth’s surface.


In this article, we discussed the difference between magma and lava in detail. Here I told about important points related to the meaning, composition, occurrence, etc. You came to know the difference in the cooling process of lava vs magma. I explained the types between magma as well as lava. Overall we read the parameters that were helpful for you to easily distinguish both of them. Now you will be not having any doubts about the difference between magma and lava.