During mid-June 2007, the summit of K??lauea Volcano, Hawai'i, deflated rapidly as magma drained from the subsurface to feed an east rift zone intrusion and eruption. Coincident with the deflation, summit SO2 emission rates rose by a factor of four before decaying to background levels over several weeks. We propose that SO2 release was triggered by static decompression caused by magma withdrawal from K??lauea's shallow summit reservoir. Models of the deflation suggest a pressure drop of 0.5-3 MPa, which is sufficient to trigger exsolution of the observed excess SO2 from a relatively small volume of magma at the modeled source depth beneath K??lauea's summit. Static decompression may also explain other episodes of deflation accompanied by heightened gas emission, including the precursory phases of K??lauea's 2008 summit eruption. Hazards associated with unexpected volcanic gas emission argue for increased awareness of magma reservoir pressure fluctuations. Copyright 2009 by the American Geophysical Union.
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Magma degassing triggered by static decompression at K??lauea Volcano, Hawai'i