Basalt with ropy-lava texture, Hawaii

The texture is called “pahoehoe,” commonly called “ropy lave.”  When the viscosity (stiffness) of the lava is just right, the flowing lava twists like the making of licorice.  Direction of ropy structure in ancient flows can provide a record of flow direction(s) of the lava.

I collected this on family vacation on the big island, Hawaii, in ~1986.  I was struck by the freshness of the ropy lava in the landscape of Hawaii.  The patterns and directions are amazingly complex, not at all as regular as I may have once thought.  In places the ropy lava forms steep descending micro-waterfalls of pahoehoe, ‘frozen’ in action.  I like this rock because more than any it provides a 'feel' for flow of viscous materials.

Age & Formation
Modern basalt.