Gravity signature of basaltic fill in Kīlauea caldera, Island of Hawai‘i

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Characterization of the subsurface structure of a volcanic edifice is essential to understanding volcanic behavior. One of the best-studied volcanoes is Kīlauea (Island of Hawai‘i). Geological evidence suggests that the formation of the summit caldera of Kīlauea is cyclic, with repeated collapse followed by filling with lava. The most recent collapse occurred ca. 1500 CE, producing a basin that is several hundred meters deeper than the current caldera. In this study, we used two- and three-dimensional gravity modeling of spatially dense gravity data covering the summit area to suggest that, since its formation in 1500 CE, the caldera has been progressively filled by lava flows that are slightly denser than those found in the rim and outboard of the caldera. The geometry of this fill, inferred from gravity data, enables us to reconstruct the morphology of the 1500 CE caldera before its subsequent filling. The coincidence of fumarolic zones and thermal anomalies observed at the surface with the interpreted 1500 CE caldera rim suggests that hydrothermal fluid circulation is guided by the more permeable inner faults bounding the main caldera.

Study Area

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Gravity signature of basaltic fill in Kīlauea caldera, Island of Hawai‘i
Chapter 13
ISBN 9780813795386
DOI 10.1130/2018.2538(13)
Volume 538
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher The Geological Society of America
Contributing office(s) Volcano Science Center
Description 10 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Monograph
Larger Work Title Field volcanology: A tribute to the distinguished career of Don Swanson: Geological Society of America Special Paper 538
First page 297
Last page 306
Country United States
State Hawaii
Other Geospatial Kilauea Volcano
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