a dark shape stretching across a textured tan surface

An astronaut photo of the Carrizozo Malpaís lava flow in the Chihuahuan Desert, New Mexico, on June 30. (Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory)

A picture of an ancient lava flow stretching across the desert in New Mexico was taken by an astronauts on the International Space Station. The river of volcanic rock is covered in a dark scar.

The Carrizozo Malpas is a large basaltic lava flow that spans over 130 square miles. It is located near Carrizozo, a city in the Chihuahuan Desert in New Mexico, and is one of the largest lava flows to have formed on Earth in the last 10,000 years.

The eruption that gave birth to the Carrizozo Malpas lasted between 20 and 30 years. The magma slowly trickled out of the ground from the shield volcano. The molten rock was spread out over a large area by the use of insulated lava tubes.

There are amazing images of Earth from space.

There is a mosaic of four photographs taken on the International Space Station by an unknown person. One of the most detailed aerial images of the lava flow has been released by the NASA Earth Observatory.

The north end of the lava field has been dubbed the "little black peak" due to the large amount of lava that emerged from it. The vent is located in the middle of a weakness in the Earth's crust called the Capitan lineament.

Light scattering off fissures, collapses and depressions in the volcanic rock causes the frozen lava to look different. The main road and railway go through the northern part of the lava field.

According to Earth Observatory, a number of desert plant species can grow in the frozen magma of the ancient lava field.

It was originally published on Live Science