Using microgravity data collected at Kilauea Volcano, Hawai'i (United States), between November 1975 and January 2008, we document significant mass increase beneath the east margin of Halema'uma'u Crater, within Kilauea's summit caldera. Surprisingly, there was no sustained uplift accompanying the mass accumulation. We propose that the positive gravity residual in the absence of significant uplift is indicative of magma accumulation in void space (probably a network of interconnected cracks), which may have been created when magma withdrew from the summit in response to the 29 November 1975 M = 7.2 south flank earthquake. Subsequent refilling documented by gravity represents a gradual recovery from that earthquake. A new eruptive vent opened at the summit of Kilauea in 2008 within a few hundred meters of the positive gravity residual maximum, probably tapping the reservoir that had been accumulating magma since the 1975 earthquake.
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Shallow magma accumulation at Kilauea Volcano, Hawai'i, revealed by microgravity surveys