Basalt fiber is raining down in Hawaii

Erupting Kilauea volcano occasionally spurts volcanic gases and natural basalt fiber stretched out from the fountaining basalt lava.

Having been formed by volcanic activity, the Hawaii islands are currently the fastest growing land area, expanding due to the lava flows pouring out of fissures and cooling down.

In early May 2018, Kilauea started to erupt, spurting lava from volcanic fissures into the air. The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO), permanently monitoring two active volcanoes, Kilauea and Mauna Loa, informs about volcanic gas emissions and lava flows.

During the last Kilauea eruption, HVO repeatedly released a warning about basalt fiber and other products emissions.

Judging by the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports, basalt fiber tangles were blown by the wind, raining in the areas near the volcano.

A geologist James Dan was the first to describe volcanic filaments in 1840; he gave them the name just like the local population – Pele’s hair, because the samples were taken from Kilauea volcano.

They were named, of course, not after the Brazilian football star, but the Hawaiian goddess of fire and volcanoes  called Pele. The basalt fiber is stretched by heated flows of volcanic gases that come from the flowing streams and bursts of molten lava, but then it hardens in cool air.

It is the nature itself that not only prompted, but also showed how to extrude the fiber from stones. Basalt fiber has been produced on the industrial scale for a long time, and it is currently increasingly used to produce advanced composite materials.

The government in Hawaii is aimed at growing basalt fiber production capabilities conducting market evaluation focused on the construction of the plant to produce basalt fiber and basalt composites. Rodrigo Romo, the head of the State Aerospace Agency of the State of Hawaii (PISCES), engaged in research in Hawaiian basalts, believes that growing production of basalt fiber from local raw materials will bring tangible economic benefits to the island’s economy.


Companies: PISCES

Industries: Aerospace, Construction

Terms: Basalt

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