Geological mapping of the lower east rift zone indicates that >100 eruptions have extruded an estimated 10 km3 of basalt during the past 2000 yr; six eruptions in the past 200 yr have extruded approx 1 km3. The eruptive recurrence interval has ranged 1-115 yr since the middle of the 18th century and has averaged 20 yr or less over the past 2000 yr. New chemical analyses (100) indicate that the tholeiites erupted commonly differentiated beyond olivine control or are hybrid mixtures of differentiates with more mafic (olivine-controlled) summit magmas. The distribution of vents for differentiated lavas suggests that several large magma chambers underlie the lower east rift zone. Several workers have recognized that a chamber underlies the area near a producing geothermal well, HGP-A; petrological and 14C data indicate that it has existed for at least 1300 yr. Stratigraphy, petrology and surface-deformation patterns suggest that two other areas, Heiheiahulu and Kaliu, also overlie magma chambers and show favourable geothermal prospects.-A.P.
Additional publication details
Distribution of differentiated tholeiitic basalts on the lower east rift zone of Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii: a possible guide to geothermal exploration.