Monitoring the cooling of the 1959 Kīlauea Iki lava lake using surface magnetic measurements

Bulletin of Volcanology
By:  and 



Lava lakes can be considered as proxies for small magma chambers, offering a unique opportunity to investigate magma evolution and solidification. Repeated magnetic ground surveys over more than 50 years each show a large vertical magnetic intensity anomaly associated with Kīlauea Iki Crater, partly filled with a lava lake during the 1959 eruption of Kīlauea Volcano (Island of Hawai’i). The magnetic field values recorded across the Kīlauea Iki crater floor and the cooling lava lake below result from three simple effects: the static remnant magnetization of the rocks forming the steep crater walls, the solidifying lava lake crust, and the hot, but shrinking, paramagnetic non-magnetic lens (>540 °C). We calculate 2D magnetic models to reconstruct the temporal evolution of the geometry of this non-magnetic body, its depth below the surface, and its thickness. Our results are in good agreement with the theoretical increase in thickness of the solidifying crust with time. Using the 2D magnetic models and the theoretical curve for crustal growth over a lava lake, we estimate that the former lava lake will be totally cooled below the Curie temperature in about 20 years. This study shows the potential of magnetic methods for detecting and monitoring magmatic intrusions at various scales.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Monitoring the cooling of the 1959 Kīlauea Iki lava lake using surface magnetic measurements
Series title Bulletin of Volcanology
DOI 10.1007/s00445-017-1119-7
Volume 79
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Volcano Science Center
Description Article 40; 7 p.
First page 1
Last page 7
Country United States
State Hawaii