Volcano Watch: When rocks fly

  • Tephra layers preserved at the summit of Kilauea from at least three different eruptions. Deposits below the top of the scale are predominantly juvenile and deposits above it containing many lithics. Notice the larger size of the yellow pumice clasts compared to the much denser and finer grey lapilli and ash surrounding them from 7 to 18 on the scale. The scale is in cm. Photo: Jo Schmith 11-25-2020. (USGS photo)

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to travel from the depths of Kilauea and be hurled into the air as a tiny grain of volcanic ash? How high would you go and how far would you fly? Let’s take a look at the theory of airborne rocks to find out.