Sulfur was analyzed in more than 200 lava samples from five drill holes located on the east rift zone of Kilauea volcano on the island of Hawaii. The sulfur content is a gage of whether lava was erupted subaerially (low sulfur) or erupted subaqueously (high sulfur). Despite considerable variation, sulfur is generally low (less than 0.025%) in the upper part of the holes, begins to increase at a depth of 250-320 m below sea level, and generally reaches a high level (greater than 0.1%) indicative of steady submarine eruption at 330-450 m below sea level. Assuming that the island is subsiding at 2.4 mm/yr, an analysis of these data indicates that part of the variation in sulfur concentration results from past eustatic oscillation of sea level, and that the volcano (at the drill hole site) finally emerged for the last time about 98 ka. The long-term average rate of lava accumulation is roughly 4.4 mm/yr, and upward growth of the volcano at the drill hole area is about 2 mm/yr in excess of subsidence. ?? 1988.
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Subsidence of Puna, Hawaii inferred from sulfur content of drilled lava flows