Differences Between Magma and Lava

To fully understand the definitions of magma and lava, one must first understand the differences between the two. Magma is composed of molten rock and is found in the Earth’s crust. Lava is magma that reaches the surface of our planet through a volcanic vent. As they are both molten rock that emerge from below the Earth, it can get confusing to identify one from the other.

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What is the Difference between Magma and Lava?


Lava can be defined as the hot molten rock that gets shot out of the surface of the Earth; this is a semi-solid, burning hot substance that comes out of the Earth’s surface. The temperature of the molten lava usually varies; however, it ranges from 1300 to 2200 degrees. Lava is usually categorised based on a number of different factors, such as viscosity and composition. It is important to know the types of volcanoes from which this type of lava may emerge.


Magma, on the other hand, is more of a molten rock that contains volatile substances within it. These substances usually lie below the surface of the Earth itself. Magma usually contains itself within magma chambers. These chambers usually contain a collection of dissolved gases, suspended crystals and gas bubbles. The temperature of magma may range between 1300 and 2400 degrees.

Difference Between Magma and Lava
The molten rock that is present beneath the surface of the earth is termed as Magma. The molten liquid that gets erupted out of the surface of the Earth is termed as lava. Lava is also referred to as liquid magma.
The temperature of magma is slightly hotter and ranges from 1300 to 2400 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature of lava is slightly colder and ranges between 1300-2200 degrees Fahrenheit.
The word magma has its origins in Ancient Greek. The word lava has its origins in the Italian Language.
Magma takes much longer to cool, as it is located underground, which leads to the creation of gigantic crystals Lava has the property of cooling much quicker than magma. This leads to lava sometimes crystallising into a glass

Thus, these were the key differences between lava and magma. If you liked this article and would like to read more, download the BYJU’S app today!

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs


What is lava?

The semi-solid hot molten rock that gets shot out of the Earth’s surface is known as lava.

What is the magma?

Molten rock that features volatile substances found under the surface of the Earth is known as magma.

Which has comparatively less temperature, lava or magma?

Lava has less temperature than magma. It ranges from 1300-2200 degrees Fahrenheit.

What is the range of temperature observed in magma?

The temperature in magma ranges from 1300 and 2400 degrees.


State true or false: Magma has the property of cooling much faster than lava.

False. Lava cools much faster than magma.
Test your knowledge on Magma and lava differences


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  2. The best differentiation between Magma and Lava. I just love it.