Pele’s Hair Provides Clues About Kīlauea Lava

A USGS-HVO scientist collects Pele’s hair from the parking area south of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, which has been closed since early 2008 due to ongoing volcano hazards associated with the summit lava lake. Y

hvo-111016Yesterday, with the lack of trade winds, the noxious sulfur dioxide gas emitted from the lava lake was being blown away from this area, but his gas mask was at the ready just in case the wind shifted. A hard hat is necessary at all times because explosions within the summit vent, which occur without warning, have thrown pieces of molten lava and solid rock into this area and beyond.

A close-up of Pele’s hair from Kīlauea Volcano’s summit lava lake. X-ray diffraction analyses of the Pele’s hair (basaltic glass) collected today will provide information on the mineralogy of Kīlauea lava, which, in turn, can shed light whether the magma supply to the volcano is constant or is changing.

hvo-111016aThe accumulation of Pele’s hair downwind of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater is the focus of HVO’s October 20, 2016, “Volcano Watch” article (http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/volcanowatch/view.php?id=460), which includes a description of how it forms and additional photos.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I do this to keep the spammers away * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.