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Pahoehoe - large display specimen of ropy lava from the Mojave Desert

$ 50.00

Pahoehoe (every letter is pronounced - pah hoy hoy - with even emphasis) is the Hawaiian term for smooth lava, adopted as a geological term for ropy lava. Lava ropes vary in size, from the thickness of a pencil to the thickness of an arm or greater. The ropy structure forms when lava runs downhill and the surface has not solidified.

A chain of cinder cones roughly parallels old US Route 66 in the Mojave Desert. These formed as the North American plate moved over a hot spot. These cones are small, as the lava had to make its way up through the thick continental crust and the vents were easily plugged, in contrast with the huge shield volcanos of Hawaii, where mantle basalt rises through a relatively thin oceanic crust. Pisgah, at the west end of the chain, is the oldest. The east end is anchored by the relatively fresh and symmetrical Amboy Crater, a National Natural Landmark, also associated with extensive flows.

Pisgah Crater is a cinder cone composed of both maroon and black basalt. The extensive flows associated with the cone are black and vesicular, with frozen vesicles of the carbon dioxide that forced the lava out of the vent, much like soda foaming out of a can. The carbon dioxide is long gone, but the empty bubbles are there.

This pahoehoe was collected from a flow associated with Pisgah Crater.

The pencil is 5.5" long for scale.



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