Hello. My name's Jay and I work at the Lapworth Museum of Geology, at the University of Birmingham. I'm here today to talk to you a little bit about one of my favourite objects, the lava bomb. Lava bombs interest me because they come from the heart of the Earth. They come from a place that's beyond imagining really. They are formed deep within the earth from molten rock with gasses suffused in them. And this is one.
This particular beauty came from Mount Tarawera in the North Island of New Zealand. New Zealand is particularly special to me because my wife’s from there, and this volcano was involved in a very infamous eruption in 1886 killing 120 people, mainly Mauris, and demolishing what was known then as a wonder of the world, the Pink and White Terraces which are now sadly lost to humankind. We have pictures of them.
Now lava bombs don't come out looking like this. Think of a volcanic crater as like a big pot of stew boiling away and the gases force these out at thousands of miles an hour. Some fly miles through the air and are as big as cars. This one fell probably just down the side of the crater, tumbling down, still boiling hot. You can see all these striations down the side and that's from the air passing by whistling around it. And also you can see the bubbling there where the gases were escaping.
They connect us to the earth, and it formed in geological processes that date back to the dawn of time and they're still going on forming our Earth today in places like Hawaii and New Zealand and Iceland. And that's why I love lava bombs.