Editor's note. The noder's safety tips have been moved to the top of the node for emphasis.
AND NOW SOME SAFETY TIPS
SAFETY STUFF (REALLY, READ IT, IT'S WORTH IT)
Thermite, when worked with in a lab, cannot be handled AT ALL. While it's burning, the temperature of it rises to 2200 degrees C. That's pretty hot, believe me. Class A heat protective clothing doesn't protect against it. Take necessary precautions, such as getting far back while it's burning, and not touching (or eating) it.
Also, when it (and magnesium) are alight, they produce VERY intense light. DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT IT... It can blind you quite easily.
I can't stress enough the importance of safety if you decide you want to actually do this. I'm writing this for educational and informational purposed ONLY, I'm not recommending doing it.
A final safety tip, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT run this experiment INDOORS. Lava and thermite have this habit of setting things alight, including human skin.
AND NOW BACK TO THE AUTHOR'S own formatting:
First, some details on lava. Lava is molten rock. That means, rock that's SO hot, it's turned into a liquid. That's quite hot right? Depending on the volcano (and the type of rock that is inside each) it's usually from 900 - 1200 degrees Celsius. So, to make our own would be a terrible feat right?
Not so. All you need is something that will burn hot enought to melt the rock. And that something is Thermite. You might think "Ah yeah, I need some weird chemical that I'll never get unless I break into a science lab somewhere" but the ingredients to make your own Thermite are a lot more readily available than you might think...
There are only TWO ingredients to thermite. Powdered Iron Oxide (or, more commonly known as "rust"... scrape it off your brothers bike or something), and powdered aluminium. Ok, it might be a bit hard to just happen across powdered aluminium, but who said you can't just grind a coke can down?? (Borrow your dad's grinder for that, or use a metalworking file)
Ok, so now you have these two ingredients, you must start the long, complicated procedure in preparing it into Thermite.
Step 1) Put the Iron Oxide (the dark brown powder) into a bowl
Step 2) Put the Aluminium into the bowl
Step 3) Mix.
The only real problem now, is finding a fuse to light the stuff with. Magnesium is the best, although you could always lie a firework or a flare down next to the pile of thermite that you want lit.
So, once you have the following items:
Rock (which will later be known as "Lava")
Thermite (enough to make a nice little pile on top of the rock)
You can begin making the lava. Spread the thermite into a nice pile over the rock. place the magnesium fuse into the thermite, so that when lit, it will ignite the thermite... it might be worth bending the end up so you have something to light that's not near the thermite......
Light the fuse, and get back... Also, look away.... You'll hear the thermite ignite and burn (it makes a crackly noise) when it's finished, wait a second or two (to let the light die down) and look... what you'll see there is a nice orangy brown liquid. I don't suggest touching this as it's technically lava... molten rock.
And there you have it, your very own lava.