# How much lava is there in earth?

I was reading about the Earth's structure and learned that the mantle is solid, although it can deform plastically. In fact this follows from possibility of transversal seismic waves to propagate.
This leaves me with the question where the magma that we observe in volcanos is formed and how much there is present at the crust-mantle boundary.

I was reading about the Earth's structure and learned that the mantle is solid, although it can deform plastically. In fact this follows from possibility of transversal seismic waves to propagate.
This leaves me with the question where the magma that we observe in volcanos is formed and how much there is present at the crust-mantle boundary.

I'm sure you've checked out wiki?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magma

Here are two loosely related but interesting articles

THE DEEPEST HOLE
http://www.damninteresting.com/the-deepest-hole/

Drillers Accidentally Create First Live Magma Observatory
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/12/magmaobservator/

Thank you Greg!
This only leaves open my question on the quantity of magma present at the crust-mantle boundary.

Andre
That's not lava but magma. I'm not aware of trustworthy estimates about total quatities. There are numbers mentioned here but not tied a reference.

Yes, you are right, I should have written magma in the tiltle, not lava.
I have been reading the "subduction" article before but found it quite dubious, e.g.
"The supercritical water, which is hot and more buoyant than the surrounding rock, rises into the overlying mantle where it lowers the pressure in (and thus the melting temperature of) the mantle rock to the point of actual melting, generating magma."
I can't see how rising water can lower the pressure.

billiards
Yes, you are right, I should have written magma in the tiltle, not lava.
I have been reading the "subduction" article before but found it quite dubious, e.g.
"The supercritical water, which is hot and more buoyant than the surrounding rock, rises into the overlying mantle where it lowers the pressure in (and thus the melting temperature of) the mantle rock to the point of actual melting, generating magma."
I can't see how rising water can lower the pressure.

The water pushes the grains in the rock apart, counter to the loading stress due to the overburden. The net is a drop in the effective stress.

c.f http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effective_stress

I did some reading. Apparently water reduces the melting temperatures by depolymerizing silicates in the melt thereby increasing the entropy of the melt:
www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~langmuir/Papers/Katz G3 03.pdf
Makes much more sense.

I found some numbers on how much magma is generated by locations (subduction zones, hot spots etc)
in H Bahlburg, C Breitkreuz, Grundlagen der Geologie, Spektrum Verlag, 2012.
. The sum is of the order of 1 km^3 per year. I don't have the precise numbers at hand right now.

billiards
I found some numbers on how much magma is generated by locations (subduction zones, hot spots etc)
in H Bahlburg, C Breitkreuz, Grundlagen der Geologie, Spektrum Verlag, 2012.
. The sum is of the order of 1 km^3 per year. I don't have the precise numbers at hand right now.

That sounds small to me. It appears you are missing mid ocean ridges, which add about 20 km^3 per year.

You are right. The numbers from the book are

location intrusive extrusive
subduction zone 8 0.8
mid oceanic ridges 18 3
intra plate volcanoes
oceanic 2 0.4
continental 1.5 0.1

dannielwang
Lava being the unsolidified molten rock material deposited on the surface of Earth? A fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent. As defined as a solidified rock, the percentage of Earth's crust is over 66% hardened lava, in the form of basalt.

Ophiolite
Lava being the unsolidified molten rock material deposited on the surface of Earth? A fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent. As defined as a solidified rock, the percentage of Earth's crust is over 66% hardened lava, in the form of basalt.
You seem to have taken the view that the oceans are absalt, the continents (granite) are not, and so the ratio is as you have defined it. However you have failed to take into account the much greater thickness of the continental crust.

Mentor