The Puu Oo eruption in the middle of Kilauea volcano's east rift zone provides an excellent opportunity to utilize petrologic constraints to interpret rift-zone processes. Emplacement of a dike began 24 hours before the start of the eruption on 3 January 1983. Seismic and geodetic evidence indicates that the dike collided with a magma body in the rift zone. Most of the lava produced during the initial episode of the Puu Oo eruption is of hybrid composition, with petrographic and geochemical evidence of mixing magmas of highly evllved and more mafic compositions. Some olivine and plagioclase grains in the hybrid lavas show reverse zoning. Whole-rock compositional variations are linear even for normally compatible elements like Ni and Cr. Leastsquares mixing calculations yield good residuals for major and trace element analyses for magma mixing. Crystal fractionation calculations yield unsatisfactory residuals. The highly evolved magma is similar in composition to the lava from the 1977 eruption and, at one point, vents for these two eruptions are only 200 m apart. Possibly both the 1977 lava and the highly evolved component of the episode 1 Puu Oo lava were derived from a common body of rift-zone-stored magma. The more mafic mixing component may be represented by the most mafic lava from the January 1983 eruption; it shows no evidence of magma mixing. The dike that was intruded just prior to the start of the Puu Oo eruption may have acted as a hydraulic plunger causing mixing of the two rift-zone-stored magmas. ?? 1989 Springer-Verlag.