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Book Chapter

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

Lydie Gailler
Lydie Gailler
Laboratoire Magmas et Volcans (LMV), Université Blaise Pascal, BP 10448, 63000 Clermont-Ferrand, France
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, UMR 6524, IRD, R 163, LMV, 6 Avenue Blaise Pascal, TSA 60026–CS 60026, 63178 Aubiàre Cedex, France
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Jim Kauahikaua
Jim Kauahikaua
Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, U.S. Geological Survey, P.O. Box 51, 1 Crater Rim Road, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii 96718, USA
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Publication history
29 December 201719 September 2018


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.

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GSA Special Papers

Field Volcanology: A Tribute to the Distinguished Career of Don Swanson

Geological Society of America
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