Petrologic testament to changes in shallow magma storage and transport during 30+ years of recharge and eruption at Kīlauea Volcano, Hawai‘i: Chapter 8

Geophysical Monograph 8
By: , and 
Edited by: Rebecca CareyValérie CayolMichael P. Poland, and Dominique Weis



Petrologic monitoring of Kīlauea Volcano from January 1983 to October 2013 has yielded an extensive record of glass, phenocryst, melt inclusion, and bulk-lava chemistry from well-quenched lava. When correlated with 30+ years of geophysical and geologic monitoring, petrologic details testify to physical maturation of summit-to-rift magma plumbing associated with sporadic intrusion and prolonged magmatic overpressurization. Changes through time in bulk-lava major- and trace-element compositions, along with glass thermometry, record shifts in the dynamic balance of fractionation, mixing, and assimilation processes inherent to magma storage and transport during near-continuous recharge and eruption. Phenocryst composition, morphology, and texture, along with the sulfur content of melt inclusions, constrain coupled changes in eruption behavior and geochemistry to processes occurring in the shallow magmatic system.

For the first 17 years of eruption, magma was steadily tapped from a summit reservoir at 1–4 km depth and circulating between 1180 and 1200°C. Furthermore, magma cooled another 30°C while flowing through the 18 km long rift conduit, before erupting olivine-spinel-phyric lava at temperatures of 1150–1170°C in a pattern linked with edifice deformation, vent formation, eruptive vigor, and presumably the flux of magma into and out of the summit reservoir. During 2000–2001, a fundamental change in steady state eruption petrology to that of relatively low-temperature, low-MgO, olivine(-spinel)-clinopyroxene-plagioclase-phryic lava points to a physical transformation of the shallow volcano plumbing uprift of the vent. Preeruptive comagmatic mixing between hotter and cooler magma is documented by resorption, overgrowth, and compositional zonation in a mixed population of phenocrysts grown at higher and lower temperatures. Large variations of sulfur (50 to >1000 ppm) in melt inclusions within individual phenocrysts and among phenocrysts in most samples provide an unequivocal glimpse of rapid crystal growth amid sulfur degassing at <30 MPa in a turbulent preeruptive environment. We speculate that, during the last decade, one or more shallow open-system reservoirs developed along the conduit between the summit and Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō and now serve to buffer the magmatic throughput associated with ongoing recharge and eruption.

Lava with identical trace-element signatures erupted simultaneously at the summit and at Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō from 2008 to 2013 confirms magmatic continuity between the vents. Complementary changes in compositions of matrix glasses, phenocrysts, and melt inclusions of summit tephra are mirrored by similar changes in contemporaneous rift lava at eruption temperatures 20–35°C lower than those at the summit. Petrologic parameters measured at opposite ends of the shallow magmatic plumbing system are both correlated with summit deformation, demonstrating that effects of summit magma chamber pressurization are translated throughout interconnected magma pathways in the shallow edifice.

Study Area

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Petrologic testament to changes in shallow magma storage and transport during 30+ years of recharge and eruption at Kīlauea Volcano, Hawai‘i: Chapter 8
Series title Geophysical Monograph
Series number 8
ISBN 978-1-118-87204-8
DOI 10.1002/9781118872079.ch8
Volume 208
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher American Geophysical Union; John Wiley & Sons
Publisher location Washington, D.C.
Contributing office(s) Volcano Science Center
Description 40 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Monograph
Larger Work Title Hawaiian volcanoes: From source to surface
First page 147
Last page 188
Conference Title AGU Chapman Conference
Conference Location Waikoloa, Hawai'i
Conference Date August 20-24, 2012
Country United States
State Hawaii
Other Geospatial Kīlauea Volcano
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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