VHP Photo Glossary: Pele's Tears

Photo: Pele's tears with U.S. dime for scale

Photograph by J.D. Griggs in November 1984

Pele's tears

Small bits of molten lava in fountains can cool quickly and solidify into glass particles shaped like spheres or tear drops called Pele's tears, named after Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes. They are jet black in color and are often found on one end of a strand of Pele's hair.

Photo: Assorted shapes of Pele's tears collected a few kilometers downwind from Mauna Ulu from along the Hilina Pali Road on Kilauea Volcano, Hawai`i. U.S. dime for scale in lower right.

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