Advertisement

Springer Nature is making Coronavirus research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Spongy pahoehoe in Hawaii: A study of vesicle-distribution patterns in basalt and their significance

  • 241 Accesses

  • 75 Citations

Abstract

A well-defined pahoehoe lava type that is very common medially and distally in Hawaii is characterized by a high concentration and fairly uniform distribution of spherical or near-spherical vesicles. Measurements of vesicle sizes and concentrations have been made on ten of these spongy pahoehoe lava flow-units. The vesicles increase in size toward the middle, accompanied by a moderate increase in lava porosity. The close approach to bilateral symmetry on either side of the horizontal median plane and the common occurrence of a median gas blister shows that no significant upward movement of vesicles occurred, suggesting that the lava possessed a yield strength and was more or less static. Olivine phenocrysts when present are, however, concentrated in the lower half of the same flow units, showing that the lava previously lacked a significant yield strength. The vesicles are regarded as early, inherited from the vent, but the size characteristics of the vesicle population are a late-formed feature. Vesicles grew in static lava mostly by coalescence, and it is postulated that coalescence was promoted by the presence of abundant diktytaxitic voids which punctured the walls of contiguous vesicles. Zones in which the vesicle concentration is lower and the vesicles are larger and strongly deformed interrupt the symmetry of some spongy pahoehoe units, and gas blisters higher than the median plane occur in many examples. These zones are interpreted to result from late-stage shearing, and point to a mechanism by which vesicles may be eliminated from a lava.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Dickinson WR, Vigrass LW (1965) Geology of the Suplee-Izee area, Crook, Grant and Harney Counties, Oregon. Oregon Dept Geol Mineral Res Bull 58:1–110

  2. Godinot A (1988) Comment on “Pipe vesicles in Hawaiian basaltic lavas: their origin and potential as paleoslope indicators”. Geology 16:90

  3. Lovering TS (1935) Theory of heat conduction applied to geological problems. Geol Soc Am Bull 46:69–94

  4. McMillan K, Cross RW, Long PE (1987) Two-stage vesiculation in the Cohassett flow of the Grande Ronde Basalt, south central Washington. Geology 15:809–812

  5. Philpotts AR, Lewis CL (1987) Pipe vesicles — an alternate model for their origin. Geology 15:971–974

  6. Rowland SK, Walker GPL (1988) Mafic crystal distributions, viscosities, and lava structures of some Hawaiian lavas. Bull Volcanol 35:55–66

  7. Shaw HR (1969) Rheology of basalt in the melting range.J Petrol 10:510–535

  8. Shaw HR, Wright TL, Peck DL, Okamura R (1968) The viscosity of basaltic magma: an analysis of field measurements in Makaopuhi lava lake, Hawaii. Am J Sci 266:225–264

  9. Sparks RSJ (1978) The dynamics of bubble formation and growth in magmas: a review and analysis. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 3:1–37

  10. Sparks RSJ, Pinkerton H, Macdonald R (1977) The transport of xenoliths in magmas. Earth Planet Sci Lett 35:234–238

  11. Swanson DA, Fabbi BP (1973) Loss of volatiles during fountaining and flowage of basaltic lava at Kilauea volcano, Hawaii. US Geol Surv J Res 1:649–658

  12. Walker GPL (1987) Pipe vesicles in Hawaiian basaltic lavas: their origin and potential as paleoslope indicators. Geology 15:84–87

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Walker, G.P.L. Spongy pahoehoe in Hawaii: A study of vesicle-distribution patterns in basalt and their significance. Bull Volcanol 51, 199–209 (1989). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01067956

Download citation

Keywords

  • Yield Strength
  • Sedimentology
  • Upward Movement
  • Significant Yield
  • Close Approach