SIA3826: Pillow Lava from Loihi Volcano

Photographer:Calvin J. Hamilton
Copyright:Copyright © 2010 Calvin J. Hamilton
Location:Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

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Much of Loihi's surface is covered with rounded "pillows," the form basalt lava commonly takes when erupted underwater. Parts of three pillows are contained in this specimen. High seawater pressure at the collection depth of 1180 meters retarded the release of gases from the lava, keeping the vesicles, or gas bubbles, small and few in number. The pillows' thin glassy veneer resulted when the hot lava erupted into cold seawater.

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