An Indonesian volcano has erupted what appears to be electric-blue lava flows, as photographed by Reuben Wu. Although surreal, this bright blue coloration is a result of nothing more than a tweak of chemistry. Volcanoes come in a variety of destructive flavors, both on Earth and on other planetary bodies in our Solar System. Shield volcanoes like Kilauea effusively erupt lava, fairly slow, over long periods of time.

Tall, mountainous stratovolcanoes like Mount Fuji remain silent for many hundreds of years before unleashing their cataclysmic fury on the world. Volcanoes on Io, one of Jupiter’s innermost moons, produce spectacular eruption columns that reach heights of 500 kilometers (310 miles) that are literally out of this world. In any case, the lava produced tends to be an orangey-red color. Incredibly, a volcanic complex in Indonesia that goes by the name of Kawah Ijen bucks this trend: When it erupts, its lava burns an iridescent blue. MORE