Some characteristics of Pele's hair

Journal of Research of the U.S. Geological Survey
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Pele's hair is a filamentous variety of brown sideromelane glass that forms during eruption of basaltic lava. Strands of Pele's hair form from droplets of lava that are spun or stretched into filaments during quenching, and others may form as chilled streamers of lava. Common elongate vesicles, sometimes twisted, indicate extreme stretching and twisting during hair formation. Hair diameter ranges from about 1 to 300 micrometres. Refractive index of hairs decreases with hair diameter and is most probably a function of the process of formation rather than chemical composition. Masses of Pele's hair form natural spun-glass filters that trap small particles and serve as sites for sublimate deposition. Such deposition may begin even while hair is falling to the ground through an eruption fume cloud. Sublimates include carbonates, sulfates, sulfur, and less commonly hydrocarbons, thus complicating the interpretation of volatiles in Pele's hair in terms of original magmatic constituents. Vesicles, which provide the most nearly pure samples of magmatic volatiles, contain mostly H2O and CO2.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Some characteristics of Pele's hair
Series title Journal of Research of the U.S. Geological Survey
Volume 5
Issue 1
Year Published 1977
Language English
Publisher U. S. Geological Survey
Description 9 p.
First page 93
Last page 101
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