Laze (geology)

Laze plumes forming from pāhoehoe lava flowing into the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii

Laze is acid rain and air pollution arising from steam explosions and large plume clouds containing extremely acidic condensate (mainly hydrochloric acid), which occur when molten lava flows enter cold oceans.[1][2] The term laze is a portmanteau of lava and haze.

Laze, created by the interaction of lava and cold seawater, differs from vog, which originates from volcanic vents.[3][4]

The extremely high temperatures of lava flows (1200 °C; 2200 °F) cause sea water to decompose into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen combines with chloride ions dissolved in sea water, forming hydrogen chloride gas (hydrochloric acid). The rapidly rising plume of gas also carries with it fine particles of volcanic glass.[2] The hydrochloric acid and other contaminants can precipitate out rapidly and the plume may become relatively safe a few hundred meters away, however, laze plumes should be shown a degree of respect as they can and have killed people who come in contact with them.[5] The USGS has reported that, in 2000, two people were killed by exposure to laze clouds.[6]


  1. ^ "Vog and Laze Seminar Abstracts" (PDF). Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes, University of Hawaii at Hilo. July 29, 1991. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 12, 2017. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ a b Rice, Doyle (22 May 2018). "Lava, acid rain, vog, sulfur dioxide and now 'laze': New deadly threat emerges from Hawaii volcano". USA Today.
  3. ^ Stokes, J.B. (July 29, 1991). "How Vog is made: A photographic perspective" (PDF). Vog and Laze Seminar. Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes, University of Hawaii at Hilo. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 12, 2017.
  4. ^ "Fact Sheet, Volcanic Air Pollution--A Hazard in Hawai`i; Fact Sheet 169-97 Online Version 1.1". USGS. June 2000.
  5. ^ Hunter, Dana (22 May 2018). "The Lowdown on LAZE: Kilauea's Most Recent Hazard". Scientific American. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  6. ^ Kirkpatrick, Noel (May 22, 2018). "What is laze? This toxic volcanic mixture is nothing to be relaxed about". Mother Nature Network. Narrative Content Group. Retrieved May 22, 2018.

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