Petrologic insights into rift zone magmatic interactions from the 2011 eruption of Kīlauea Volcano, Hawaiʻi

Journal of Petrology
By: , and 



The high frequency of historical eruptions at Kīlauea Volcano presents an exceptional opportunity to address fundamental questions related to the transport, storage, and interaction of magmas within rift zones. The Nāpau Crater area on Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone (ERZ) experienced nine fissure eruptions within 50 years (1961–2011). Most of the magma intruded during these frequent eruptions remained stored within the rift zone, creating a potential magma mixing depot within the ERZ. The superbly monitored and sampled 2011 eruption (Puʻu ʻŌʻō episode 59) presents an extraordinary opportunity to evaluate magma mixing processes within the ERZ. Whole-rock, glass, and olivine compositions were determined, not only for lava from the 2011 eruption, but also for a new suite of Nāpau Crater area samples from the 1963, 1965, 1968, 1983, and 1997 eruptions, as well as the previously undocumented 1922 eruption. Whole-rock XRF data revealed two geochemically distinct magma batches for episode 59: one less evolved (∼6·6 wt % MgO, 0·46 wt % K2O) than the other (∼6·2 wt % MgO, 0·58 wt % K2O). Episode 59 lava is remarkably aphyric (∼0·1 vol. % phenocrysts), making use of mineralogy to identify parent magma affinities problematic. Linear compositional trends of whole-rock major and trace elements, and reversely zoned olivine crystals indicate episode 59 lavas underwent magma mixing. Least squares regression calculations and plots of major and trace element data, were used to evaluate whether the episode 59 samples are products of mixing summit-derived magma with residual magma from previous Nāpau Crater area eruptions. The regression results and trace element ratios are inconsistent with previously proposed mixing scenarios, but they do support mixing between summit-derived magma and residual magma from the 1983 and 1997 Nāpau Crater area eruptions. These magmas were stored in physically and chemically distinct pods at depths of 1·6–3·0 km prior to mixing with new magma intruded from the summit to produce the episode 59 lava. One pod contained a fractionated equivalent of 1983 lava, and the other a hybrid of compositions similar to 1983 and 1997 lavas. The petrology of episode 59 lava demonstrates that magmas from two previous eruptions (1983 and 1997) were available to mix with magma intruded from the summit region. This study clarifies the pre-eruptive history of the mixed episode 59 lava, and elucidates the evolution of the volcano's magmatic system in a region of frequent eruptions.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Petrologic insights into rift zone magmatic interactions from the 2011 eruption of Kīlauea Volcano, Hawaiʻi
Series title Journal of Petrology
DOI 10.1093/petrology/egz064
Volume 60
Issue 11
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher Oxford University Press
Contributing office(s) Volcano Science Center
Description 25 p.
First page 2051
Last page 2075
Country United States
State Hawaii
Other Geospatial East Rift Zone
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional metadata about this publication, not found in other parts of the page is in this table