How Lava Rocks are Harvested

Lava rocks are rocks that occur as a result of a volcano, so they are volcanic rocks. These rocks generally serve many purposes and can be harvested or mined from volcanic regions worldwide. Here, we look at how they are harvested, where they can be found, and the use of these lava rocks.

In the United States, Lava rocks are harvested from places such as Hawaii, Utah, California, Colorado, New Mexico, etc. These rocks are ancient, and some result from a volcanic eruption that happened 20,000 years ago or even later than that. Although referred to as lava rocks, they are not technically lava. What is referred to as lava is the molten rock that comes out of an active volcano? Once it is exposed to the atmosphere, it cools off and hardens to become an igneous rock. 

Harvesting Lava Rocks

The areas where the lava rocks form are usually called the scoria cone or cinder cone. It is easy to harvest the stones from this area. This is so because the rock is porous. All you have to do is push it off the hill. Since the stones come in various sizes, miners and quarries usually sort out the rocks into different sizes. Perhaps the difficult part is finding the right amount of these rocks to mine. Generally, finding a volcanic area with stones that can still be harvested means the rocks are relatively young at around ten to a hundred thousand years. Older volcanic regions are unlikely to have rocks that can be gathered because lava rocks weather into goo and clay over time. The Big Island is one of the best places to find lava rocks because it is an active volcanic region.

The harvesting process is similar to what obtains for other rocks except that it is usually easier. You can harvest volcanic rocks faster than you will do with the usual heavier and harder stones. 

Types of Lava Rocks

There are different types of lava rocks, and they are generally classified based on their texture and chemical composition. What determines the texture, appearance, and chemical composition of each lava rock is usually the lava of each volcano and how quickly it hardens. Common types of lava rocks include basalt, pumice, obsidian, pitchstone, etc. 

Use of Lava Rocks

These rocks can be used for various purposes because of their characteristics. Generally, they serve as a barrier against insects and weeds. They are also porous, and this means water can pass through them comfortably. Another feature is their lightweight, which makes them easy to use on any construction. You can use lava rocks for any kind of landscaping job that you may have in mind. These include using them as pavers, rock walls, terraces, retaining walls, etc. Although these rocks have limited color, the brownish or rust color is one that works with any kind of landscape and will fit with other colors perfectly.


Lava rocks are a multipurpose rock, and if you are considering erecting any stone structure, don’t let the high price of this material stop you from using it. Visit rock wall builders Oahu for the best masonry services!

Rock Walls in Hawaii

Rock walls are a significant feature of the Hawaiian landscape. You will find that some of the longest-standing structures were built with lava rocks using the dry stack method where no mortar is added on this island. Today, you will find beautiful rock walls in different parts of Hawaii, from commercial and residential properties alongside highways and roads. Here, we discuss all you need to know about the rock walls in Hawaii.

Who Builds Rock Walls

Masons are the ones who will build your rock walls, whether it is a mortar wall or dry stack walls. Some stonemasons specialize in this job, and they are the ones you should use. The best rock wall masons can be found on Hawaii Big Island. This area is a volcanic region, which means lava rocks are in abundance on the island. This material can be used to build all kinds of rock walls and terraces that you may have in mind. Over generations, Hawaiians, Samoans, and Tongans masons have built these walls and passed the skills down. However, if you plan to build this wall, do your findings to make sure the person you’re using has the skills and experience they claim to possess.

Methods of Building Rock Walls

Two methods are commonly used. They are:

Mortar Wall Method: This is when cement is used to join the rocks and give the wall a firmer hold. Some masons are experts in this particular type of rock wall, and you will easily find one because this method is the most common method for building rock walls.

Dry Stack Method: Rock walls are one of the oldest man made creations, and people have been building them long before cement was discovered. The method used for making these rock walls and which is still in use today is dry stacking. The Hawaiian name for this type of wall is Uhau Huma Pohaku. This type of rock requires more expertise than mortar walls because the wall structure usually determines how long it stands. When properly built, dry stack rock walls can last for centuries or even millenniums. Most of the iconic walls today were made using dry stack methods. If you want a rock wall that looks completely natural, this type of rock wall is the best choice.

Rocks Used For Building

The Hawaiian Blue rock is the rock that is mostly used for constructing rock walls. This rock has a smooth finish and is easy to mine, which is what makes it the mason’s favorite. There are different ways to get the rock. One could buy it from landowners, harvest it from private property or purchase it from the quarry. Blue rock can be used for all kinds of construction, from rock walls to pavers.

Another rock that is commonly used is lava rock. There are so many of them, but the Pahoehoe lava ranks as the best. However, you can only find Pahoehoe on Big Island.


You will find different rock walls across various parts of Hawaii, and if you are looking to build one too, you just need to get a good mason.