Obsidian is a naturally occurring volcanic glass and is commonly found within the margins of rhyolitic lava flows known as obsidian flows. Obsidian is hard and brittle and fractures with very sharp edges-which had been used in the past in cutting and piercing tools, and are still used as surgical scalpel blades.
Now for a bit of history on Obsidian Butte. It is one volcano of a line of four small volcanoes on the southeastern shore of the Salton Sea near Calipatria, CA -about 100 miles east of San Diego. Scientists estimate they last erupted between 6,500 and 10,000 years ago -- which at least technically classifies them as active. A1989 bulletin by U.S. Geological Survey on potential future volcano hazards in California stated, "The compositions of lavas of past eruptions and the association of vents with groundwater and the Salton Sea suggest that pyroclastic flows and surges and explosive eruptions could occur in the future." Events such as this have a potential to be destructive out to distances of at least 6 miles from an active vent.
Pyroclastic flows are a mixture of mineral fragments and hot gases that move almost like a flash-flood of water. According to USGS, they reach speeds of more than 60 mph, with gases topping 800 degrees Fahrenheit. Wow. Pyroclastic flows are responsible for thousands of deaths in history's worst volcanic disasters, including at Herculaneum and Pompeii in ancient Roman times and at St. Pierre in Martinique in 1902, where 30,000 people died in a pyroclastic flow after Mount Pelee erupted.
Eventually, something is going to come to the surface in the Salton Sea area.
So you should probably get your Obsidian Necklace now, just in case. :-)
If you haven't been to the Sea and have a chance- GO and experience it. It is a unique experience of abandonment and devastation in the midst of truly stunning beauty and one of the most significant bird stopovers in the world as part of the Pacific Flyway. There is simply nothing like it.
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Thank you so much for looking and visiting The Salton Riviera!
©2012 Mickey Strider
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