Friday Rock Blogging: Pele's Hair

i-f22d3f361b230b1e2580dd8b027016e4-peles-hair-insitu.jpg This one's in honor of the new activity at the peak of Kilauea. For pictures and updates, see the Hawaii Volcano Observatory homepage. For more geoblogospheric coverage, check out the posts at Magma Cum Laude and the roundup at Geology News.

i-269743546a1d55afee359c7bcaa4d093-peles-hair-loop.jpg To get Pele's hair, you need to throw around some lava. More precisely, you need your volcano to work like a cotton candy machine: take a bit of liquid rock, and spin it out until it looks like, well, hair. Or cotton candy (seriously, Internet, why do you not contain any magnified images of cotton candy for me to link to here?). Though these images aren't from the current eruption, the latest HVO press release reports that there was fresh Pele's hair on the Halema'uma'u (summit caldera) overlook on Monday.

Below the fold: you can see the streching-outing!


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The collapse pit within the Halema`uma`u Crater at Kilauea taken January 7, 2010. Image courtesy of the USGS/HVO. Eruptions reader Boris Behncke pointed out that things are afoot in the Halema`uma`u Crater at Kilauea. To steal his description: " the lava lake returned triumphantly to the active pit…
The Halema'uma'u Crater at Kilauea on June 29, 2009, prior to a rockfall on June 30th that has blocked the vent. Image courtesy of HVO. There is a bit of a buzz today about significant rockfalls that occurred in Halema'uma'u Crater at Kilauea on June 30th. Some articles have suggested that the…
Not sure how it was kept quiet for most of the week (well, at least to me), but geologists at the HVO have noticed a new lava lake in Halemaumau Caldera on Kilauea (Hawai'i). The lava lake is around 330 feet (~100 meters) below the crater rim and ~160 feet (50 meters) across with sections of…
Busy busy analysing on the multicollector ICP-MS today (but not busy enough to miss this). Here's your weekly volcano news roundup from the USGS/Smithsonian GVP. Highlights (not including Sarychev Peak) include: Continued dome growth and degassing at Bezymianny in Russia. Starting next year, there…

Cool stuff. I've never seen the real thing - how long are the strands, on average?

This site says it can be as much as several feet long, though often two to six inches because it breaks easily. It also tells how to make your own Pele's hair:

"You can create your own Pele's hair by trying to take a sample of pahoehoe flow. When you dip a kitchen whisk, or other implement, into an active pahoehoe flow, as you extract the sample - if you do so quick enough, strands of hair will extrude from your sample back to the ground. These may be many feet in length but only as thick as human hair. These fragile strands do not last long, but show you exactly how they are created."

Never tried that!


By Anonymous (not verified) on 06 Nov 2009 #permalink