Ropy Pahoehoe - You Can Feel the Heat

March 17, 2005


Referred by: Laurie Tomczyk, Mecosta-Osceola Math Science Center
Summary authors & editors: Laurie Tomczyk

Ropy Pahoehoe above is a newly formed fissure on the surface of a lava flow at the end of Chain of Craters Road on the Big Island of Hawaii. Students from Mecosta Osceola Math Science Center in Big Rapids, Michigan had an opportunity to visit Hawaii in June of 2004 for a field study program. Matt Fisher, a senior at the school, snapped this photo. The ropy appearance results when the flow is slowed or obstructed. As the lava beneath the crust moves forward, the cooler crust folds in ribbon like strands, and at the same time, the surface squeezes together. When it cools, it's still malleable enough to wrinkle and form small ridges and troughs as it's compressed and is driven forward.

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