Pele’s Hair

Pele's Hair

Pele’s Hair
U.S. Park Service Photo

An interesting volcanic phenomonon called Pele’s Hair has been appearing in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. ┬áThese thin strands of volcanic glass are named for Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes. A single strand, with a diameter of less than 0.5 mm (5 to 10 times the diameter of a human hair), may be as long as 2 meters (6.5 feet). The strands are formed by the stretching or “blowing-out” of molten basaltic glass from lava, usually from lava fountains, lava cascades, and vigorous lava flows. The wind can stretch the molten glass that is shot into the air into these threads and blow them many kilometers from a vent. ┬áThe material should not be handled as it is sharp and very much like fiber glass.

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