Kilauea, one of the most active volcanos in the world, has been especially feisty lately, beating out even the volcanos that can bring the lightning when they erupt. Lava from the volcano has reached the ocean for the first time in three years, traveling seven miles to hit the water. And it decided to celebrate by showing off a smiley face inside its crater.
The video above was shot in late June by local helicopter pilots and has been making the rounds as a “mystery,” at least to some people. This is, of course, a coincidence. Unless volcanos have been hiding something major from us, they’re not sentient beings. Despite the way the movies present it, lava doesn’t consistently glow inside a crater, but can “crust over,” with the hotter magma shining through the cracks.
Humans are predisposed to see patterns in everything from clouds to wisps of dust on Mars due to a psychological phenomenon called pareidolia, so all we really need is two dots and a curve to spot a smiley face in something.
Still, it’s a neat reminder of the beauty of nature, and that what we draw out of nature is what we see in it in the first place. Because really the alternative is more troubling. If getting lava to the ocean makes Kilauea happy, we don’t want to know what would make it experience the other range of emoji.
(Via USA Today)