After molten lava, toxic gas, acid rain, volcanic smog and huge boulders, Kilauea volcano has another surprise for residents of Hawaii - green gems rain.
These green crystals are actually part of the rock-forming mineral group olivine and from them, the green semi-precious stone peridot is formed.
"The lava that is erupting now is very crystal-rich and it is quite possible that residents might be finding olivine," a geologist at the University of Hawaii-Hilo Cheryl Gansecki, who has been studying the composition of Kilauea's lava, told Mashable
Olivine is a magnesium iron silicate and is a common mineral in Earth's subsurface. Also, the mineral, which is found in igneous rock formed by lava, is common in the volcanic archipelago of Hawaii.
How does it look?
Olivine is no doubt pretty. The colour varies from olive-green, light green, dark green to yellow-green, yellow-brown, and brown. It can also rarely appear white, grey, or orange. This is because its magnesium-rich end-member is Forsterite.
Olivine is often found as rounded grains and is usually slightly harder than glass.
What are its uses
Olivine does not have much of industrial usage, but forsterite may be used to remove impurities from steel. Olivine as a gemstone is mostly mined at the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona to create small gemstones, according to aessoil.com. Also, olivine used for larger productions such as dolomitic and serpentine marble.
However, olivine is more interesting than you thought. It is found in stony and stony-iron meteorites, which usually orbit near Mars and Jupiter.
The mineral was also found in the distinct form on the parts of a planet or asteroid near the mantle-core boundary. In 2011, a NASA telescope had observed sparkling green olivine crystals falling through a cloud of gas near a developing star.
Check out some pictures here:
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. pic.twitter.com/inJWxOp66t— Erin Jordan (@ErinJordan_WX) June 11, 2018
Hawaii volcanic eruptions started after more than 600 earthquakes shook Hawaii's Big Island since April 30. The crater floor of the Puu Oo vent, which is a volcanic cone in the eastern rift zone of the Kīlauea Volcano, collapsed, pushing the magma more than 10 miles downslope toward the southeast coastline.