Large earthquakes often occur as multiple ruptures reflecting strong variations of stress level along faults. Dense instrument networks with which the volcano Kilauea is monitored provided detailed data on changes of seismic velocity, strain accumulation and earthquake occurrence rate before the 1975 Hawaii 7.2-mag earthquake. During the ???4 yr of preparation time the mainshock source volume had separated into crustal volumes of high stress levels embedded in a larger low-stress volume, showing respectively high- and low-stress precursory anomalies. ?? 1981 Nature Publishing Group.