Hawaiian Volcano’s Lava Lake Spits Out Bizarre ‘Dragon Egg’

January 20, 2016 Updated: January 20, 2016

The Halemaʻumaʻu Crater (essentially a lake of lava) on Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano has been erupting recently, and one researcher found a glass-like black piece of lava rock that looks like a “dragon egg.”

A Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologist found the rock following a rockfall and explosion at Kilauea, reported the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

“It’s an incredibly curious thing,” said Tim Orr, who is a geologist with the observatory. “Nothing like this has been seen before.”

The glass volcanic rock is around the size and shape of a Pele’s tear, but it’s hollow inside.


“The fact that it is hollow is what is really interesting,” Orr told the paper.

Geologists then posted a picture of the object on the Observatory’s website, calling it the “Coolest Pele’s Tear ever!” They stated: “This photo shows a one-of-a-kind, completely hollow Pele’s tear about 1.5 cm (1/2 inch) long. It was found on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu and was ejected in association with this morning’s explosive event, probably during the aftermath when the lake surface was spattering vigorously.”

Pele’s tears are small pieces of solidified lava drops that are formed when airborne particles of molten material fuse into drops that look like tears. They’re jet black in color and are named after Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes.

But Orr thinks the rock he found was formed via a different process than Pele’s tears.

J.D. Griggs/USGS

“I have nothing else that I can call it,” Orr told the paper. “I don’t know how it could have formed.”

But IFL Science described it as a “dragon egg,” which is probably a more apt term.