The opening of a new vent within Halema'uma'u Crater in March 2008 ended a 26-year period of no eruptive activity at the summit of Kilauea Volcano. It also heralded the first explosive activity at Kilauea's summit since 1924 and the first of eight discrete explosive events in 2008. At the onset of the eruption, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) initiated a rigorous program of sample collection to provide a temporally constrained suite of tephra samples for petrographic, geochemical, and isotopic studies. Petrologic studies help us understand conditions of magma generation at depth; processes related to transport, storage, and mixing of magma within the shallow summit region; and specific circumstances leading to explosive eruptions.
This report provides a catalog of tephra samples erupted at Kilauea's summit from March 19, 2008, through the end of 2008. The Kilauea 2008 Summit Sample Catalog is tabulated in the accompanying Microsoft Excel file, of2009-1134.xls (four file types linked on right). The worksheet in this file provides sampling information and sample descriptions. Contextual information for this catalog is provided below and includes (1) a narrative of 2008 summit eruptive activity, (2) a description of sample collection methods, (3) a scheme for characterizing a diverse range in tephra lithology, and (4) an explanation of each category of sample information (column headers) in the Microsoft Excel worksheet.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Catalog of Tephra Samples from Kilauea's Summit Eruption, March-December 2008