Last week the internet was flooded with claims that Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano, located on the Big Island, was erupting and simultaneously raining gemstones.
The volcano in Hawaii called Kilauea, has been powerfully erupting for over a month now and it seems that its residents are locating an unbelievable amount of gems that appear to have fallen out of the sky as a result of the eruption.
The green gems are known as olivine crystals, a mineral found in the lava coming from Hawaii. Most commonly it is known in jewelry industry as the mineral called peridot. As the volcano erupts, it then blasts apart molten lava while in the sky, allowing for the green olivine minerals to be separated from the rest of the melt, falling from the sky as tiny gemstones.
Later in the week various media outlets began questioning the authenticity of the story. Questions arose as to how the large pieces of molten lava would have immediately released the gemstones into the air.
Cheryl Gansecki, a geologist at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, mentioned that the green gems seen in the photos circulating online do not separate from the lava themselves and had more than likely come out during previous eruptions. “There is not olivine raining from the sky, except in clumps of lava. If you happen to be where tephra is falling from the sky, there [are] tiny olivines embedded in it, but you probably aren’t going to see them,” she said.
The locals are used to being around the green olivine crystals, in fact, they have one of the only green beaches in the world. The abundance of olivine crystals filling the beach comes from the eroded cutaway interior of Pu’u Mahana, a volcanic cone produced almost 50,000 years ago by the explosive combination of lava and groundwater. The “Hawaiian Diamond” or “Pele’s tears” as the peridot is known as in Hawaii, is in honor of Pele, the goddess of volcanoes.
It seems olivine is not literally raining down on Hawaii from the Kilauea eruption, or at least not in the way that the photos circulating on social media would suggest