Kilauea lava

A nighttime lava flow at Kilauea on Hawaii's Big Island. (Photo: Paul Bica/Flickr)

Volcanoes can be violent and destructive, but they're also capable of surprisingly subtle beauty. This is often seen in slow, gurgling lava flows, which lack the gas-powered pop of more explosive magma.

To shed light on volcanoes' softer side, we've compiled a few videos that convey the art of molten rock. Several of the videos below were filmed in Hawaii, which is known for the low gas content of its lava, but they also include hotspots like Guatemala and Vanuatu, some of which are less subtle than others.

It's worth noting, of course, that slow-moving lava is still lava, which means it should be treated with respect. It's one thing to marvel at its igneous glow from afar, but most of us probably should avoid poking hot lava with sticks, clambering on volcanic cliffs or swimming in sulphurous seawater. And thanks to mesmerizing lava videos like these, we don't have to:

Pulama Pali, Hawaii


Volcán Pacaya, Guatemala

Various locations

Russell McLendon ( @russmclendon ) writes about humans and other wildlife.

7 mesmerizing videos of hot lava
Molten rock is a mortal danger to anyone nearby, but it's often too beautiful to ignore. Thankfully, these videos let us ogle lava without risking our lives.