|A pahoehoe flow from Kilauea from 2004. The flow was only a few days old and looks silver because of a thin layer of volcanic glass that degrades and falls away within weeks or months.|
|A mantle xenolith in basalt. The green mineral is olivine (it weathers to red iron oxide quickly in the moist climate of Hawai'i)|
|Olivine phenocrysts in vesicular (holey) basalt at Pu'ohonua o Honaunau National Historical Park|
Explosive eruptions of basalt are fairly rare on Hawai'i, but they do happen. The rapidly cooling lava may not even form crystals, forming a glass instead. The glass can take the form of a gold-colored basaltic pumice (below), a spongy material with the consistency of styrofoam.
|Basaltic pumice at the Lyman Museum in Hilo|
|Pele's Hair at the Lyman Museum in Hilo|
Basalt is the beginning of all that is in the Hawaiian Islands. The islands began as thousands upon thousands of lava flows, the soils on which plants and animals survive are derived from the weathering of basalt, and the platform on which coral reefs later grow at the end of the island's existence is basalt. Basalt forms the base on which all travels took place and basalt was the building stone of choice (the only choice).
|The Mamalahoa Trail, that stretches from Kona to Puako. It was built in the 1800s.|
|Native 'Ohi'a trees growing in a recent basalt flow in the interior of the Kilauea Iki crater, which erupted in 1959.|