Convection in magma chambers is thought to play a key role in the activity of persistently active volcanoes, but has only been inferred indirectly from geochemical observations or simulated numerically. Continuous microgravity measurements, which track changes in subsurface mass distribution over time, provide a potential method for characterizing convection in magma reservoirs. We recorded gravity oscillations with a period of ~150 s at two continuous gravity stations at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano, Hawai‘i. The oscillations are not related to inertial accelerations caused by seismic activity, but instead indicate variations in subsurface mass. Source modeling suggests that the oscillations are caused by density inversions in a magma reservoir located ~1 km beneath the east margin of Halema‘uma‘u Crater in Kīlauea Caldera—a location of known magma storage.
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Gravity fluctuations induced by magma convection at Kilauea Volcano, Hawai'i