In order to identify the origin of Mauna Loa volcano's Nīnole Hills, Bouguer gravity was used to delineate density contrasts within the edifice. Our survey identified two residual anomalies beneath the Southwest Rift Zone (SWRZ) and the Nīnole Hills. The Nīnole Hills anomaly is elongated, striking northeast, and in inversions both anomalies merge at approximately −7 km above sea level. The positive anomaly, modeled as a rock volume of ~1200 km3 beneath the Nīnole Hills, is associated with old eruptive vents. Based on the geologic and geophysical data, we propose that the gravity anomaly under the Nīnole Hills records an early SWRZ orientation, now abandoned due to geologically rapid rift-zone reorganization. Catastrophic submarine landslides from Mauna Loa's western flank are the most likely cause for the concurrent abandonment of the Nīnole Hills section of the SWRZ. Rift zone reorganization induced by mass wasting is likely more common than currently recognized.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||The origin of Mauna Loa's Nīnole Hills: Evidence of rift zone reorganization|
|Series title||Geophysical Research Letters|
|Publisher||American Geophysical Union|
|Contributing office(s)||Volcano Science Center|
|Other Geospatial||Mauna Loa, Nīnole Hills|