Today's Friday beautiful science comes from a shot taken of a Saudi Arabian lava field from the International Space Station:
Harrat Khaybar, Saudi Arabia is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 16 crewmember on the International Space Station. The western half of the Arabian peninsula contains not only large expanses of sand and gravel, but extensive lava fields known as haraat (harrat for a named field). One such field is the 14,000-square kilometer Harrat Khaybar, located approximately 137 kilometers to the northeast of the city of Al Madinah (Medina). According to scientists, the volcanic field was formed by eruptions along a 100-kilometer long north-south linear vent system over the past 5 million years; the most recent recorded eruption took place between 600 - 700 A.D. Harrat Khaybar contains a wide range of volcanic rock types and spectacular landforms, several of which are represented in this view. Jabal al Quidr is built from several generations of dark, fluid basalt lava flows; the flows surround the 322--meter high stratovolcano (Jabal is translated as "mountain" in Arabic). Jabal Abyad, in the center of the image, was formed from a more viscous, silica-rich lava classified as a rhyolite.