Corn Rocks

"Corn rocks" are pieces of lava rock that have impressions of pieces of corn imbedded in them. Geologists have found many samples of corn rocks around the Sunset Crater Volcano in northern Arizona. When the volcano erupted, about 1000 years ago, the people that lived around it were evidently putting pieces of corn in the lava to create these rocks. Why they did this is anyone's guess. Perhaps for religious reasons, or perhaps just for fun.

Source: Google Arts & Culture

Geologists tried to create corn rocks of their own at Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii, but they found it wasn't as straightforward as they had assumed. Putting the corn in the path of a lava flow didn't work. Nor did dropping corn on top of a flow. Geologist Wendell Duffield tells the rest of the story:

We concluded that a corn rock most likely forms when small blobs of molten lava splash down over an ear. A falling blob of basalt lava would have a low enough viscosity to envelope an ear before the molten hardens to solid rock...

Obviously, it would not be safe for humans to carry ears of corn into the fallout zone of a towering lava fountain. A safe setting, however, would be at what geologists call an hornito (means "little oven" in Spanish). An hornito is essentially a miniature volcano that spews molten blobs of melt that fall back to Earth and accumulate into a welded-together chimney-like stack as they solidify and cool...

So, early Native Americans living near the present site of Sunset Crater Volcano witnessed an eruption that at some stage could be safely approached to place ears of corn at the base of an active hornito.
     Posted By: Alex - Fri Aug 11, 2023
     Category: Nature | Science | Anthropology | Ancient Times

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