Tag Archives: Kilauea

Is Hawaii's Kilauea volcano shooting green gems into the air?

Is Hawaii's Kilauea volcano shooting green gems into the air?Embedded in the lava still spewing some 130 feet into the air from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano are green crystals.  Called olivine, these minerals can turn Hawaiian beaches green, and it appears some of the green gems are raining down upon homes near the eruption or popping up near lava flows. "Yes, the lava that is erupting now is very crystal-rich and it is quite possible that residents might be finding olivine," Cheryl Gansecki, a geologist at the University of Hawaii-Hilo that studies the composition of Kilauea's lava, said over email.  SEE ALSO: Lava transforms a Hawaiian bay into a blackened peninsula "It can be carried in the pumice [rapidly cooled lava] pieces that have been rained all over the area," she noted, or left behind when weaker lava rocks are crushed by cars or foot traffic.  U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientist Wendy Stovall, who was out studying Kilauea last week, also confirmed that recent lava samples do contain olivine, though she didn't happen upon any separated green crystals herself.  Other folks in the area, however, appear to be collecting the tiny green gems as they see them: Friends of mine live in Hawaii, right next to the area impacted by the most recent lava flows. In the midst of the destruction nearby & stress of the unknown, they woke up to this – tiny pieces of olivine all over the ground. It is literally raining gems. Nature is truly amazing. pic.twitter.com/inJWxOp66t — Erin Jordan (@ErinJordan_WX) June 11, 2018 Some olivines that popped out of an a'a flow. Kilauea's little gems. #hawaii #kilauea #olivine #lovevolcanoes t.co/1X2ACcWu7n pic.twitter.com/8UaA1IrKEd — GEOetc (@GEOetc2) June 10, 2018 It's certainly not unusual to find olivine crystals in most any Hawaiian lava rock, both new and ancient.  "It's pretty common," Stovall said in an interview. "There’s often olivine in rocks all over Hawaii." And this olivine can become completely separated from lava rocks in a variety of ways. Sometimes the crystals can be simply weathered out from old lava rocks. Or, in the case of green-tinged Hawaiian beaches, lava can erupt through ocean water in steamy, explosive events, breaking the lava into smaller pieces and fast-tracking the separation process, said Stovall.  Small green olivine crystals on a Big Island beach.Image: Stanley MertzmanBut in the case of this olivine presumably falling down on property near the eruption, the crystals "just kind of fall out" as lava is spewed into the air, said Stovall. "The olivine crystals folks are finding on the ground scattered about are from violently ejected basalt [a type of lava] blobs wherein the embedded, earlier-formed olivine crystals are freed from their surrounding pahoehoe [syrupy lava] basalt liquid," Stanley Mertzman, a volcanologist at Franklin and Marshall College, said over email. Both violent ejections on land and from lava flowing into the ocean can "produce freed individual olivine crystals that people can pick up any time," said Mertzman. Olivine crystals embedded in a Hawaiian lava rock.Image: Stanley MertzmanThe crystals may be flying through the air from exploded bits of lava, but it's unlikely they're also coming from the volcano's summit, where there's been a large plume of steam and ash erupting from the crater — and at times rare, explosive eruptions.  "One thing I can say is that olivine is not raining out of the plume," Michael Poland, a USGS volcanologist, said over email. Poland added that olivine is common on the ground regardless, because roads in Hawaii are made up of ground up olivine-rich lava rock. A June 6 plume from Kilauea's crater, Halema‘uma‘u.Image: usgsThe little crystals, however, are not being created during the eruption. They've been formed deep underground long ago, brewing in the molten rock.  "It really is one of the first things to form," said Stovall.  And olivine might not be the only crystal falling down inside the nearby neighborhood. "It's possible that other crystals are being found," said Stovall, adding that a USGS rock specialist said olivine is difficult to tell apart from another common crystal, called clinopyroxene. It's also quite possible nearby islanders will continue to find semi-translucent crystals on the ground. The eruption, over a month old now, shows no signs of relenting, and could very well last months — or longer.
Update 6/12/18 at 8 p.m. EST: This story was updated to include comments from geologist Cheryl Gansecki. WATCH: These trees have lived for 2,500 years. Now they're suddenly dying  



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Volcano Kilauea Floods Geothermal Plant, Threatening Hawaii’s Energy Source

Volcano Kilauea Floods Geothermal Plant, Threatening Hawaii’s Energy SourceOfficials are scrambling to replace this resource.



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Hawaii's Kilauea volcano spews more lava and ash

Hawaii's Kilauea volcano spews more lava and ashHawaii residents begin to assess damage as thousands are evacuated; Jeff Paul reports.



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Steam explosion spreads ash fallout at Kilauea summit nearly 40 days after initial eruption

Steam explosion spreads ash fallout at Kilauea summit nearly 40 days after initial eruptionHawaii’s Kilauea volcano has been erupting since May 3, and according to the county of Hawaii's civil defense agency, another small explosion occurred on Sunday morning.



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The Latest: Earthquake and ash eruption hit Kilauea volcano

The Latest: Earthquake and ash eruption hit Kilauea volcanoHONOLULU (AP) — The Latest on the eruption of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano (all times local):



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Explosion rocks Hawaii's Kilauea volcano, sending ash 1 mile high

Explosion rocks Hawaii's Kilauea volcano, sending ash 1 mile highA 4:30 a.m. explosion on Tuesday atop Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano summit, spewed ash, rocks and gas nearly a mile into the air – and sparked an earthquake registering 5.5 magnitude on the Richter scale.



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Fast lava from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano closes highway

Fast lava from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano closes highwayBy Jolyn Rosa HONOLULU (Reuters) – Fast-moving lava from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano forced officials to close part of a highway on Tuesday, and they warned that sharp, thin strands of volcanic glass fibers carried by the wind could injure eyes and lungs. As lava crossed Highway 132, officials shut a stretch of road from Lava Tree State Park to Four Corners and told residents who had not evacuated to leave the area immediately. The lava flow destroyed a farm where Kevin Hopkins and partners raise tropical fish and the ornamental carp known as koi.



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Fast lava from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano closes highway

Fast lava from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano closes highwayBy Jolyn Rosa HONOLULU (Reuters) – A fast-moving lava flow from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano led officials to close a highway on Tuesday and warn that sharp, thin strands of volcanic glass fibers carried on the wind could injure eyes and lungs, in its biggest eruption cycle in a century. Hawaii County’s civil defense agency said lava was quickly approaching Highway 132, prompting the closure from Lava Tree State Park to Four Corners, and warned residents to monitor their radios and phones for updates and evacuation orders. Earlier on Tuesday, a small explosion of ash erupted from the summit of the volcano early in a vertical plume some 15,000 feet (4,600 meters) high, the U.S. Geological Survey said, the latest outburst in a month of volcanic activity.



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Latest Footage of Hawaii Kilauea Volcano Lava

Latest Footage of Hawaii Kilauea Volcano LavaLatest Footage of Hawaii Kilauea Volcano Lava



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PHOTOS: More eruptions and lava flows as blue flames burn at Kīlauea Volcano

PHOTOS: More eruptions and lava flows as blue flames burn at Kīlauea VolcanoKīlauea continues to disrupt life on Hawaii's Big Island as a third lava flow reaches the ocean and methane gas causes flames to burn blue.



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