Abstract

Submersible observations and samples show that the lower south flank of Hawaii, offshore from Kilauea volcano and the active Hilina slump system, consists entirely of compositionally diverse volcaniclastic rocks; pillow lavas are confined to shallow slopes. Submarine-erupted basalt clasts have strongly variable alkalic and transitional basalt compositions (to 41% SiO2, 10.8% alkalies), contrasting with present-day Kilauea tholeiites. The volcaniclastic rocks provide a unique record of ancestral alkalic growth of an archetypal hotspot volcano, including transition to its tholeiitic shield stage, and associated slope-failure events.

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