Green 'Olivine' Gems Fall from the Sky During Hawaii's Mount Kilauea Eruption

UPDATE: June 20, 2018 1:55 p.m. EDT — Geologist Cheryl Gansecki from University of Hawaii's Hilo campus has informed the Associated Press that the olivine people have identified on social media as gems falling from the sky are "definitely not what we're seeing in the lava." Gansecki said that the olivine is in clumps of rocks that the volcano spews, but small stones don't separate themselves from lava, and inside the lava the material is gray, not green.

Original story:

There is one strange but exciting side effect of Mount Kilauea's eruption: The volcano is spewing green gems.

Mount Kilauea is oozing lava across Hawaiian neighborhoods and has destroyed dozens of structures and injured one man. There are also many other strange effects of the volcano erupting, tiny beats of a green mineral called "olivine" have rained from the sky in some areas. The highest quality olivine is called "peridot" and can be made into jewelry.

Hawaii residents shouldn't get too excited collecting these stones, though, as they are not exactly rare and precious. Olivine is one of the most common minerals on the upper mantle of planet earth, and there are even Hawaiian beaches that have eroded away to expose the green mineral.

At Mount Kilauea, lava erupts from the mantle in slow streams and in small but abrupt explosions. The eruptions break up molten lava and separate the olivine from other parts of the mantle, leaving drops of the green rock everywhere, Forbes reported.

Mount Kilauea has been in a slow process of eruption for decades, but on May 3, lava started flowing quickly and explosively, opening up fissures and flooding residential areas. Officials evacuated more than 1,700 people from their homes, mostly in advance of the more powerful eruption, as unusual earthquake activity indicated there would be more intense lava flows.

The volcano is also spewing toxic gas and has blanketed the sky with ash thousands of miles away. However, as the eruption is only on a small section of the island, life and tourism on most of Hawaii is continuing as normal.

Still, the eruption represents an opportunity for geologists to study the unique features of this volcanic eruption. For instance, some scientists and classes have traveled to eruption sites to help them better understand if there could be life on Mars. The spewing of olivine is just one thing in a long line of reasons that the eruption of Mount Kilauea is a geological marvel.