Growth and collapse of Waianae volcano, Hawaii, as revealed by exploration of its submarine flanks

Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
By: , and 



Wai‘anae Volcano comprises the western half of O‘ahu Island, but until recently little was known about the submarine portion of this volcano. Seven new submersible dives, conducted in 2001 and 2002, and multibeam bathymetry offshore of Wai‘anae provide evidence pertaining to the overall growth of the volcano's edifice as well as the timing of collapses that formed the Wai‘anae slump complex. A prominent slope break at ∼1400 mbsl marks the paleoshoreline of Wai‘anae at the end of its shield-building stage and wraps around Ka‘ena Ridge, suggesting that this may have been an extension of Wai‘anae's northwest rift zone. Subaerially erupted tholeiitic lavas were collected from a small shield along the crest of Ka‘ena Ridge. The length of Wai‘anae's south rift zone is poorly constrained but reaches at least 65 km on the basis of recovered tholeiite pillows at this distance from the volcano's center. Wai‘anae's growth was marked by multiple collapse and deformation events during and after its shield stage, resulting in the compound mass wasting features on the volcano's southwest flank (Wai‘anae slump complex). The slump complex, one of the largest in Hawai‘i, covering an area of ∼5500 km2, is composed of several distinct sections on the basis of morphology and the lithologies of recovered samples. Two dives ascended the outer bench of the slump complex and collected predominantly low-S tholeiites that correlate with subaerial lavas erupted early during the volcano's shield stage, from 3.9 to 3.5 Ma. Pillow lavas from the outer bench have Pb, Sr, and Nd isotopic values that overlap with previously published subaerial Wai‘anae lavas. On the basis of the compositions of the recovered samples, the main body of the slump complex, as represented by the outer bench, probably formed during and shortly after the early shield stage. To the southwest of the outer bench lies a broad debris field on the seafloor, interpreted to have formed by a catastrophic collapse event that breached the outer bench. A dive within the debris field recovered subaerially derived volcaniclastic rocks; analyzed glasses are tholeiitic and resemble early shield stage compositions. The breach may have then been filled by slumping material from the main volcanic edifice. Finally, atop the northern main body of the slump is a rotated landslide block that detached from the proximal part of Ka‘ena Ridge after the volcano's late shield stage (3.2 to 3.0 Ma). From the inner scarp of this block we recovered subaerially erupted tholeiitic pillow breccias and hyaloclastites that are systematically higher in alkalis and more fractionated than those collected from the outer bench. These rocks correlate compositionally with late shield-stage subaerial Kamaile‘unu lavas. None of the collected slump complex samples correlate with alkalic subaerial postshield lavas. Volcaniclastic rocks and glass disseminated in pelagic sediment, collected from north of Ka‘ena Ridge, originated from Wai‘anae's postshield stage and Ko‘olau's shield stage, respectively.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Growth and collapse of Waianae volcano, Hawaii, as revealed by exploration of its submarine flanks
Series title Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
DOI 10.1029/2004GC000717
Volume 5
Issue 8
Year Published 2004
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Volcano Hazards Program, Volcano Science Center
Description Q08006; 30 p.
Country United States
State Hawaii
Other Geospatial Oahu; Waianae volcano
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