Hydrogen and oxygen isotopic compositions of waters from fumaroles at Kilauea summit, Hawaii

Bulletin of Volcanology
By: , and 



Condensate samples were collected in 1992 from a high-temperature (300° C) fumarole on the floor of the Halemaumau Pit Crater at Kilauea. The emergence about two years earlier of such a hot fumarole was unprecedented at such a central location at Kilauea. The condensates have hydrogen and oxygen isotopic compositions which indicate that the waters emitted by the fumarole are composed largely of meteoric water, that any magmatic water component must be minor, and that the precipitation that was the original source to the fumarole fell on a recharge area on the slopes of Mauna Loa Volcano to the west. However, the fumarole has no tritium, indicating that it taps a source of water that has been isolated from atmospheric water for at least 40 years. It is noteworthy, considering the unstable tectonic environment and abundant local rainfall of the Kilauea and Mauna Loa regions, that waters which are sources to the hot fumarole remain uncontaminated from atmospheric sources over such long times and long transport distances. As for the common, boiling point fumaroles of the Kilauea summit region, their 18O, D and tritium concentrations indicate that they are dominated by recycling of present day meteoric water. Though the waters of both hot and boiling point fumaroles have dominantly meteoric sources, they seem to be from separate hydrological regimes. Large concentrations of halogens and sulfur species in the condensates, together with the location at the center of the Kilauea summit region and the high temperature, initially suggested that much of the total mass of the emissions of the hot fumarole, including the H2O, might have come directly from a magma body. The results of the present study indicate that it is unreliable to infer a magmatic origin of volcanic waters based solely on halogen or sulfur contents, or other aspects of chemical composition of total condensates.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Hydrogen and oxygen isotopic compositions of waters from fumaroles at Kilauea summit, Hawaii
Series title Bulletin of Volcanology
DOI 10.1007/BF00298706
Volume 57
Issue 1
Year Published 1995
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Volcano Hazards Program
Description 8 p.
First page 44
Last page 51
Country United States
State Hawaii
Other Geospatial Kilauea summit
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