Pele's hair

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For the plant nicknamed "Pele's hair", see Spanish moss.
Pele's hair caught on a radio antenna mounted on the south rim of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, Hawaiʻi, July 22, 2005
Pele's hair on a pahoehoe flow at Kīlauea Volcano, Hawaiʻi, March 27, 1984
Well preserved after 1959 eruption of Kīlauea Iki Pele's hair

Pele's hair /ˈplz ˈhɛər/ is stone mineral threads or fibers formed when small particles of molten material are thrown into the air and spun out by the wind into long hair-like strands.[1] The diameter of the strands is less than 0.5 millimetres (0.020 in), and they can be as long as 2 metres (6.6 ft).[2] The material is gold or golden-brown,[3] and is commonly found downwind from active vents.[4]

Pele's hair is primarily a scientific term used by volcanologists, and is derived from Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes.[5]


A manufactured version of Pele's hair made from basalt rock and recycled slag from steel manufacturing called mineral wool or stone wool is commonly used as a non-combustible, durable, dimensionally stable, UV stable, hydrophobic, vapor permeable building insulation for residential, commercial, and high rise building.

A hydrophilic version is used as a low water usage, high yield, soil substitute for hydroponic agriculture.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ MacDonald, Abbott, and Peterson, p. 16.
  2. ^ Gill, p. 31.
  3. ^ Lopes, p. 79.
  4. ^ Morey, p. 170.
  5. ^ Nimmo, p. 86.


  • Gill, Robin. Igneous Rocks and Processes: A Practical Guide. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.
  • Lopes, Rosaly. The Volcano Adventure Guide. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005.
  • MacDonald, Gordon Andrew; Abbott, Agatin Townsend; and Peterson, Frank L. Volcanoes in the Sea: The Geology of Hawaii. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1983.
  • Morey, Kathy. Hawaii Trails: Walks, Strolls, and Treks on the Big Island. Berkeley, Calif.: Wilderness Press, 2006.
  • Nimmo, Harry. Pele, Volcano Goddess of Hawai'i: A History. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co., 2011.

External links[edit]