An isotope hydrology study of the Kilauea volcano area, Hawaii

Water-Resources Investigations Report 95-4213
By: , and 



Isotope tracer methods were used to determine flow paths, recharge areas, and relative age for ground water in the Kilauea volcano area on the Island of Hawaii. Stable isotopes in rainfall show three distinct isotopic gradients with elevation, which are correlated with trade-wind, rain shadow, and high-elevation climatological patterns. Temporal variations in isotopic composition of precipitation are controlled more by the frequency of large storms than b.y seasonal temperature fluctuations. Consistency in results between two separate areas with rainfall caused by tradewinds and thermally-driven upslope airflow suggests that isotopic gradients with elevation may be similar on other islands in the tradewind belt, especially the other Hawaiian Islands, which have similar climatology and temperature lapse rates. Areal contrasts in ground-water stable isotopes and tritium indicate that the volcanic ri~ zones compartmentalize the regional ground-water system. Tritium levels in ground water within and downgradient of Kilauea's ri~ zones indicate relatively long residence times. Part of Kilauea's Southwest Ri~ Zone appears to act as a conduit for water from higher elevation, but there is no evidence for extensive down-ri~ flow in the lower East Ri~ Zone.
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title An isotope hydrology study of the Kilauea volcano area, Hawaii
Series title Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number 95-4213
DOI 10.3133/wri954213
Year Published 1995
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Contributing office(s) Volcano Hazards Program
Description v, 44 p.
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