Study of several Hawaiian tholeiitic volcanoes shows that pipe vesicles form only in thin pahoehoe flow units standing on a ground slope of less than about 4°. The vesicles thus have potential as paleoslope indicators. Two examples are given of their use to deduce that the steep dip of certain intracaldera lavas is due to tilting. Pipe vesicles are attributed to gas bubbles rising through lava at a stage in its cooling history when it had acquired a yield strength of a few tens of N · m2 sufficient to prevent closure of lava behind the bubbles.

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