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150 Years of Impact

Let the Lava Flow

The Syracuse Lava Project stays hot - even in the winter (Video)

Jan 12, 2017 — Article by: Amy Manley

Photo of lava flow

Lava flows from the specially modified furnace located at the Comstock Art Facility at Syracuse University.

The weather outside was frightful, but the lava pour was delightful.

Syracuse faculty and staff gathered together on a bitterly cold January evening to watch as Assistant Professor of Studio Arts Robert Wysocki and Professor of Earth Sciences Jeff Karson turned out 100 pounds of molten basalt rock onto the snow. 

Located just outside of the Comstock Art Facility, the Syracuse University Lava Project is a collaboration between the College of Arts & Sciences and the College of Visual and Performing Arts. Karson and Wysocki fire up the specially modified crucible several times a year to produce natural-scale lava flows, allowing faculty and students to study the molten rock under a multitude of changing variables–ultimately to gain a better understanding of how volcanoes help shape our planet. The project at Syracuse University is one of the very few places in the world where a man-made lava flow of this large scale can be produced.

For more information about the Syracuse Lava project, visit:

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Amy Manley