Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano Shooting Green Gemstones Into The Air

Kilauea volcano

Kilauea volcano

Hawaii's Kilauea volcano has been erupting for over a month, and experts warn it could continue erupting for the foreseeable future. The volcano, which continues to spew toxic gas, ash, and molten lava, is also ejecting green minerals, known as olivine, into the air. The small gemstones are turning up in areas impacted by the lava flows. A meteorologist from Arizona shared photos on Twitter of the gemstones sent to her by friends in Hawaii and said that they told her it was "literally raining gems."

Friends of mine live in Hawaii, right next to the area impacted by the most recent lava flows. In the midst of the destruction nearby & stress of the unknown, they woke up to this - tiny pieces of olivine all over the ground. It is literally raining gems. Nature is truly amazing.

Cheryl Gansecki, a geologist at the University of Hawaii-Hilo, told Mashable that the olivine "can be carried in the pumice [rapidly cooled lava] pieces that have been rained all over the area."

The green rocks are not created during the eruption. The rocks were formed millions of years ago and are now being freed during the violent eruption of the Kilauea volcano. 

Stanley Mertzman explained to Mashable that "the olivine crystals folks are finding on the ground scattered about are from violently ejected basalt [a type of lava] blobs wherein the embedded, earlier-formed olivine crystals are freed from their surrounding pahoehoe [syrupy lava] basalt liquid."

The green minerals are responsible for Hawaii's picturesque green beaches. As the lava erupts underneath the water, it quickly cools causing a violent steamy eruption which can separate the olivine from the lava break it down into tiny pieces, which turn the sand green when they wash up on the shore. 

Photo: Getty Images