Applications of the VLF induction method for studying some volcanic processes of Kilauea volcano, Hawaii

Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research



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The very low-frequency (VLF) induction method has found exceptional utility in studying various volcanic processes of Kilauea volcano, Hawaii because: (1) significant anomalies result exclusively from ionically conductive magma or still-hot intrusions (> 800??C) and the attendant electrolytically conductive hot groundwater; (2) basalt flows forming the bulk of Kilauea have very high resistivities at shallow depths that result in low geologic noise levels and relatively deep depths of investigation (???100 m); and (3) the azimuths to two of the usable transmitters (NLK and NPM) are aligned favorably with most of the principal geologic features. Measurements of the tilt angle and ellipticity of the polarization ellipse of the magnetic field, using a simple, hand-held receiver, have been used to: (1) delineate the lateral extent of shallow, partially solidified lava lakes, active lava tubes, and recent intrusive dikes; (2) obtain an indication of the attitude of some recent dikes; (3) show that many eruptive fissures cool faster than their intrusive counterparts; (4) show that some fumarolic areas are underlain by shallow, highly altered, and conductive zones; and (5) provide control information for interpreting data obtained with other electrical techniques. Complementary measurements of scalar apparent resistivity and surface impedance phase, using a new attachment for the VLF receiver, have substantially increased the utility of VLF studies in Kilauea. They provide better lateral resolution of conductors and reduce the ambiguity in interpretation. Notwithstanding recent advances in theoretical modeling techniques, the excellent quality of some of the data warrants extension of interpretive techniques, particularly for quantitatively characterizing the configuration and conductivity of small-dimension bodies. These VLF induction methods should have wide application to studies of active volcanic regions in other parts of the world and could provide some insights into the workings of larger-scaled geothermal systems. ?? 1978.

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Applications of the VLF induction method for studying some volcanic processes of Kilauea volcano, Hawaii
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Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
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