A series of downhole and surface water samples were taken from the 1-km-deep KP-1 borehole located on the eastern flank of the island of Hawaii. Early samples from depths of more than 700 m showed salinities nearly equivalent to seawater but having anomalous cation concentrations that are attributed to ion exchange between formation fluids and residual drilling mud clays. Later deep samples found only minor variations from seawater cation chemistry that are consistent with low-temperature weathering of basalts; ??18O values are equivalent to seawater values and are consistent with this interpretation. Carbon 14 activities of dissolved inorganic carbonate indicate a water age ranging from 5890 to 7170 years B.P. and fluid transport rates of 1.8 to 2.2 m/yr. Fluid samples from perforations at 310 m in the borehole demonstrate that a freshwater aquifer is present at the Mauna Kea/Mauna Loa interface; borehole resistivity logs indicate that it is ???200 m thick. Although it has not yet been possible to obtain samples of the freshwater zone without contamination from the deep saline fluids, the chloride concentrations of the low-salinity zone are estimated using a mixing enthalpy calculation to be less than 100 mg/L. Light stable isotope data indicate that the fresh water at 320 m is derived from recharge entering the island at an average elevation of 2000 m. Inferred 14C activities of the dissolved bicarbonate in the freshwater zone indicate an average calibrated age of 2200 years B.P. and an average fluid velocity of at least 14 m/yr. A regional water flow model is proposed that suggests that the fresh water found at the 320-m depth is derived from rainfall recharge from the middle elevations of Mauna Kea volcano. This rainfall is channeled beneath the Mauna Loa lavas by the thick soil layer separating the two volcanoes. A second shallow fresh-to-brackish water zone, derived from Mauna Loa recharge, is also inferred to exist below the carbonate formation that underlies the shallow basal lens. The results of our preliminary study of the groundwater system below the KP-1 drill site demonstrate that intervolcano and interflow aquicludes can have a substantial impact on water circulation and discharge from young island volcanoes.
Additional publication details
Hydrogeology of the Hawaii Scientific Drilling Project borehole KP-1 2. Groundwater geochemistry and regional flow patterns