Fluid-inclusion evidence for past temperature fluctuations in the Kilauea East Rift Zone geothermal area, Hawaii

By: , and 



Heating and freezing data were obtained for fluid inclusions in hydrothermal quartz, calcite, and anhydrite from several depths in three scientific observation holes drilled along the lower East Rift Zone of Kilauea volcano, Hawaii. Compositions of the inclusion fluids range from dilute meteoric water to highly modified sea water concentrated by boiling. Comparison of measured drill-hole temperatures with fluid-inclusion homogenization-temperature (Th) data indicates that only about 15% of the fluid inclusions could have formed under the present thermal conditions. The majority of fluid inclusions studied must have formed during one or more times in the past when temperatures fluctuated in response to the emplacement of nearby dikes and their subsequent cooling. The fluid-inclusion data indicate that past temperatures in SOH-4 well were as much as 64°C hotter than present temperatures between 1000 and 1500 m depth and they were a maximum of 68°C cooler than present temperatures below 1500 m depth. Similarly, the data show that past temperatures near the bottoms of SOH-1 and SOH-2 wells were up to 45 and 59°C, respectively, cooler than the present thermal conditions; however, the remainder of fluid-inclusion Th values for these two drill holes suggest that the temperatures of the trapped waters were nearly the same as the present temperatures at these slightly shallower depths. Several hydrothermal minerals (erionite, mordenite, truscottite, smectite, chlorite-smectite, chalcedony, anhydrite, and hematite), occurring in the drill holes at higher temperatures than they are found in geothermal drill holes of Iceland or other geothermal areas, provide additional evidence for a recent heating trend.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Fluid-inclusion evidence for past temperature fluctuations in the Kilauea East Rift Zone geothermal area, Hawaii
Series title Geothermics
DOI 10.1016/0375-6505(95)00034-8
Volume 24
Issue 5-6
Year Published 1995
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Volcano Hazards Program
Description 21 p.
First page 639
Last page 659
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