Difference Between Scoria and Lava Sand

You might think that scoria and lava sand are interchangeable, but you will find that there is a big difference between the two.

Those differences include scoria being heat resistant, how exactly the different sand is formed, what their uses are, and much more.

Read on to find out why we use black sand in our heating pads.

Where they originate

Before we get deep into the differences between scoria and lava sand, let's talk about how they originate.

Both start from lava coming from a volcano.

This is simple enough.

But the difference comes in when you figure out how they come out of the volcano.


"Scoria forms when magma containing abundant dissolved gas flows from a volcano or is blown out during an eruption. As the molten rock emerges from the Earth, the pressure upon it is reduced and the dissolved gas starts to escape in the form of bubbles. If the molten rock solidifies before the gas has escaped, the bubbles become small rounded or elongated cavities in the rock. This dark-colored igneous rock with the trapped bubbles is known as scoria.

When some volcanoes erupt, a rush of gas blows out of the vent. This gas was once dissolved in the magma below. The gas often blows out small bodies of magma that solidify as they fly through the air. This action can produce a ground cover of scoria all around the volcanic vent, with the heaviest deposits on the downwind side."

For scoria, the lava comes out of the side of the volcano and then trails down towards the ground.

Once it gets down to the ground, or maybe still on the side of the volcano, the lava then cools down from the air.

This is what is know as scoria.

The scoria gets its distinctive look from the fact that there is still gas trapped inside the lava once it cools.

Therefore you get the little pockets in the scoria rocks once the gas escapes.

The lava sand we use in our LavaBags is a little bit different.

This lava sand we use is from lava that gets spewed into the air.

Once it comes down from the air, it then lands in the water and cools down.

This is the type of sand that we use in our LavaBags.

So there is a little difference, but it is significant when it comes to exactly why we use it in our heating pads.

How they handle heat

There is a very distinct difference between scoria and lava sand when it comes to dealing with heat and water.

First off, scoria is used often him people's outside fireplaces.

There are a few reasons for that.

They look really nice to have in a fireplace.

It gives the fireplace a nice look with the scoria inside of it.

Scoria is also very resistant to heat.

So if you were to start up a fire in your outside fireplace, you can take the scoria out of the fireplace and immediately touch it with your hands.

This is because scoria is resistant to heat.

Lava sand is the exact opposite: it holds in the heat very well.

That is why they work so well in heating pads.

They will hold in the heat for long periods of time.

Therefore, you can leave the lava sand heating pad on you for up to an hour without losing much of the heat.

Scoria wouldn't be very good with this because it doesn't hold in the heat.

So you could heat up the scoria, but you wouldn't get any heat off of it.


Most scoria is going to come to you in the shape of rocks.

And this is convenient for most uses.

But before you use the scoria, you should make sure to clean the rocks first.

Scoria will typically come with lots of dust and debris on it.

This means that you should start off by cleaning it.

Put your scoria in a bucket and then fill up the bucket with water.

Then you'll need something to move the scoria rocks around, which should probably be a stick.

Put the stick in the bucket and swirl around the scoria.

Then take each scoria rock out and blast it with a water hose.

You can also take a brush to it if it needs more extensive cleaning.

Once done, you should be fine to use it in your aquarium or other situations where you might want to use it.

The scoria can also be broken up into smaller pieces or pieces so small that it becomes sand.

One way to do this is to place the scoria rock in a towel and then bang it with a hammer.

Continue to hit the scoria rock until you get it to the size that you want (either smaller rocks or sand).

You can also use a rock chisel, but if you don't already have one, then it might not be worth spending more money to get one.

If you don't clean it first, then you could end up muddying the water in your aquarium just by putting the scoria rocks in there.

Lava sand is typically going to come to you in the form of sand, instead of rocks.

If you purchase the lava sand from us, it will already be washed and cleaned, so you won't have to do anything with it.

Otherwise, you'll want to clean the lava sand by rinsing it in water and then drying it out rather quickly.

The easiest way to clean it off would be to place it on a cookie sheet and then place that cookie sheet in the oven at 400 degrees.

Leave it in the oven for an hour or two until the lava sand seems to be dried out.

Now you can use the lava sand the way that you want to.


One of the biggest uses for scoria is in construction.

From again:

"Concrete made with scoria typically weighs about 100 pounds per cubic foot. This is a weight savings compared to concrete made with typical sand and gravel that weighs about 150 pounds per cubic foot. This savings in weight allows buildings to be constructed with less structural steel. The air trapped in the scoria makes the lightweight concrete a better insulator. Buildings constructed with this lightweight concrete can have lower heating and cooling costs."

So it seems you can use scoria in the making of concrete, and it is just as strong, but is also lighter in weight.

It is also commonly used in landscaping projects.

Scoria can come in many shapes and sizes, so depending on how you want your landscaping to look, you can give it different colors.

It also doesn't absorb water, so that can be left for the plants that you are looking to grow.

Lastly, as we have already mentioned, scoria is used in barbecue grills because they immediately give off their heat.

For lava sand, there are a number of things you can use them for.

Of course, we would recommend using it for heating pads.

You can purchase lava sand from us here and create your own heating pad, or use it to fill other heating pads that may have lost their filling.

You can also use lava sand in your aquariums.

Since you won't find it in rock forms, you can use it for the bottom of your aquarium.

It will give your aquarium a wonderful look and do a good job of keeping the aquarium nice and clean.

The lava sand can also be used for exfoliating soaps.

The addition of lava sand will help to scrub away any dead skin cells from the body.

Lava sand gives the soap a little bit of extra grit, that allows the scrubbing the dead skin away.

You can find a good recipe for making exfoliating soap here and just replace the Icelandic lava sand with our sand.


While it may seem minor, there are a few differences between scoria and lava sand, which include how they are formed.

The scoria is going to have pockets of gas caught in it before the gas escapes, and that gives the scoria rock its look.

While lava sand is cooled down by the water and then turned into sand by the crashing of the waves.

Not only are they formed in different ways, but they also have their own uses.

And if you keep that in mind, you can understand why lava sand is used for heating pads and scoria is used for things like fire pits and decorations.