Hawaiite is an olivine basalt with a composition between alkali basalt and mugearite.[1] It was first used as a name for some lavas found on the island of Hawaii.

It occurs during the later stages of volcanic activity on oceanic islands such as Hawaii,[2] which happens to be when the alkali metals are most present.[3]

In gemology, hawaiite is a colloquial term for Hawaii-originated peridot, which is a gem-quality form of the mineral olivine.[4]


TAS diagram with trachybasalt field highlighted in yellow. Hawaiite is sodic trachybasalt.

Hawaiite is an aphanitic (fine-grained) volcanic rock produced by rapid cooling of lava moderately poor in silica and enriched in alkali metal oxides (potassium oxide plus sodium oxide). It is often impractical to determine the mineral composition of such a fine-grained rock, and so hawaiite is defined chemically. Under the TAS classification, hawaiite is sodic trachybasalt, with a silica content close to 49 wt%, a total alkali metal oxide content close to 6%, and Na2O wt% > K2O wt% + 2. This places hawaiite in the S1 field of the TAS diagram.[5][6]

Hawaiite is not a recognized rock type in the QAPF classification of igneous rock, which is based on the relative proportions of quartz, alkali feldspar, and plagioclase in the mineral composition. However, hawaiite is composed mostly of andesine (plagioclase feldspar with an albite content of 50% to 70%) and pyroxene with smaller amounts of olivine.[1] This would fall into the andesite/basalt field of the QAPF diagram.[7]


Hawaiite is erupted in the late stages of ocean island volcanism, forming part of the alkaline magma series characteristic of such eruptions. It is preceded by silica-poor ankaramite and followed by intermediate-silica mugearite as the magma evolves by crystallization in the underlying magma chamber. These rocks form an alkalic cap over the older rocks of the island.[8] Hawaiite can occur at earlier stages in the evolution of some volcanoes in other tectonic settings, for example during the middle stage of volcanic activity in the Kekuknai volcanic massif (in Kamchatka, Russia) that formed in a volcanic back-arc basin.[9]

Other settings in which hawaiite and other alkaline volcanic rocks are found include regions of continental extension, such as the Basin and Range Province of western North America[10] and the Red Sea Rift.[11]


  1. ^ a b MacDonald, Gordon A.; Abbott, Agatin T.; Peterson, Frank L. (1983). Volcanoes in the sea : the geology of Hawaii (2nd ed.). Honolulu: University of Hawaii press. pp. 127–129, 150–152. ISBN 9780824808327.
  2. ^ Hazlett, R.W.; Hyndman, D.W. (1996). Roadside Geology of Hawaii. Missoula: Mountain Press. p. 13. ISBN 0-87842-344-3.
  3. ^ "Hawaiite: volcanic rock - pictures and overview". www.sandatlas.org. Retrieved 2018-04-07.
  4. ^ Manutchehr-Danai, M. (2000). "Hawaiite". Dictionary of Gems and Gemology. Berlin: Springer-Verlag. p. 223. doi:10.1007/978-3-662-04288-5. ISBN 978-3-662-04290-8.
  5. ^ Le Bas, M. J.; Streckeisen, A. L. (1991). "The IUGS systematics of igneous rocks". Journal of the Geological Society. 148 (5): 825–833. Bibcode:1991JGSoc.148..825L. CiteSeerX doi:10.1144/gsjgs.148.5.0825. S2CID 28548230.
  6. ^ "Rock Classification Scheme - Vol 1 - Igneous" (PDF). British Geological Survey: Rock Classification Scheme. 1: 1–52. 1999.
  7. ^ Philpotts, Anthony R.; Ague, Jay J. (2009). Principles of igneous and metamorphic petrology (2nd ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pp. 140–143. ISBN 978-0-521-88006-0.
  8. ^ MacDonald et al. 1983, pp. 150–151.
  9. ^ Koloskov, A.V.; Flerov, G.B.; Perepelov, A.B.; Melekestsev, I.V.; Puzankov, M.Yu.; Filosofova, T.M. (2011). "Evolution Stages and Petrology of the Kekuknai Volcanic Massif as Reflecting the Magmatism in Backarc Zone of Kuril–Kamchatka Island Arc System. Part 1. Geological Position and Geochemistry of Volcanic Rocks" (PDF). Journal of Volcanology and Seismology. 5 (5): 312–334. doi:10.1134/S074204631104004X. S2CID 129740005.
  10. ^ Vaniman, D. T.; Crowe, B. M.; Gladney, E. S. (1982). "Petrology and geochemistry of hawaiite lavas from Crater Flat, Nevada". Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology. 80 (4): 341–357. Bibcode:1982CoMP...80..341V. doi:10.1007/BF00378007. S2CID 128583787.
  11. ^ Camp, Victor E.; Roobol, M. John; Hooper, Peter R. (1 March 1991). "The Arabian continental alkali basalt province: Part II. Evolution of Harrats Khaybar, Ithnayn, and Kura, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia". GSA Bulletin. 103 (3): 363–391. Bibcode:1991GSAB..103..363C. doi:10.1130/0016-7606(1991)103<0363:TACABP>2.3.CO;2.