Monday, May 27, 2013

What is Lava? - Pillow Lavas, Pillow Basalt and Palagonite

Honoli'i Beach north of Hilo Hawaii surfing
Earlier this month, Nick Zentner and I spent a few days in Hawaii filming 2 Minute Geology episodes on Hotspots, Volcano Types and Lava. We also shot "comparison" footage to include in several of our shows related to the  Columbia River Basalts. University of Hawaii at Hilo geologist Steve Lundblad was our host and guide. I sure enjoyed meeting members of Hilo's geology department (students and faculty) when Nick gave a talk to that group.
Sunrise over Hilo Bay on the Big Island of Hawaii
Sunrise iPhone view of Pacific Ocean - Lundblad home. Thanks for everything Steve & Nancy!!!

Steve Lundblad geology Hawaii Hilo
Nick and Steve filming 2 Minute Geology episode near Saddle Road summit.

Big Island of Hawaii
 Flew from Seattle to Kona. Stayed in Hilo.
Hawaiian Sea Turtle
Sea Turtle enjoys Hilo Bay
Hilo Hawaii attraction - Rainbow Falls
Rainbow Falls in Hilo is beautiful. A tropical rain-forest climate [with annual rainfall totals in excess of 10 feet] ... allows "houseplants" to grow wild.

 What is Lava?

Click above to view flowing lava and watch Nick sample molten lava.

Big Island of Hawaii - Lava plain
Road over the rock

Darcy Bevens leads hikers
Steve and Nick following University of Hawaii Hilo's volcano field expert Darcy Bevens. Thanks for the great hike Darcy!!!
Geologist on the Big Island of Hawaii - Steam from lava ocean entry
Steam from lava entering ocean in the distance.
Pacific Ocean lava entry
Pacific Ocean lava entry
Geologist Nick Zentner explains creation of pillow lavas and palagonite when lava flows into water.

Black sand beach
Black sand beach
Molten lava flow Hawaii
Hot flows are silver in the sun
Twin Pits lava volcanoes Hawaii
This feature was really cool!!! My photos don't capture the scene very well. Huge pothole-like holes called "Twin Pits". You can see where the 1974 lava flow spilled into pit on the right.
Hawaiian Volcanoes Twin Pits
Sorry Ice Age Floods friends! ... These pits are more impressive than any flood-carved pothole I've seen. It hurts me to say that! Nick for scale at top left.
Pele's Hair volcanic glass
Volcanic glass threads from erupting volcanos that looks like blonde hair. You can see it in photo above that shows Steve and Nick following Darcy. Pele is the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes.

Vog in Hawaii
The wind helped us out and we only had to wear respirators a short time. Sulfur dioxide released by the erupting volcano is known as vog  (slang ... for volcanic fog or smog). 

Tsunami tree Hilo bay 1946 tsunami
Yikes!!! Hilo's recent tsunami history recorded on this tree. With several bands marking events [date and depth]. The top tag is at 26 ft.
Hilo tsunami
The highest tag marks 26 ft surge in 1946.
The tsunami is believed to have been generated during a magnitude 7.4 earthquake, when a large section of seafloor uplifted in the Aleutian Island chain (scientists are still trying to verify exact location). 

Hilo, HI tsunami 1946
USGS photo shows residents running from 1946 tsunami (wave visible in palm trees) that killed 159 people in Hilo.

Mauna Loa volcano Hawaii
 Mauna Loa
The long gentle slopes of Hawaiian shield volcanoes are deceiving. Hard to believe the summit in the distance is 13,679 feet!
Mount Rainier
I like this one better!!!
Mount Rainier view from plane on the trip home.