Research Articles

Deep Magma Body Beneath the Summit and Rift Zones of Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii

Science  16 Mar 1990:
Vol. 247, Issue 4948, pp. 1311-1316
DOI: 10.1126/science.247.4948.1311


A magnitude 7.2 earthquake in 1975 caused the south flank of Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii, to move seaward in response to slippage along a deep fault. Since then, a large part of the volcano's edifice has been adjusting to this perturbation. The summit of Kilauea extended at a rate of 0.26 meter per year until 1983, the south flank uplifted more than 0.5 meter, and the axes of both the volcano's rift zones extended and subsided; the summit continues to subside. These ground-surface motions have been remarkably steady and much more widespread than those caused by either recurrent inflation and deflation of the summit magma chamber or the episodic propagation of dikes into the rift zones. Kilauea's magmatic system is, therefore, probably deeper and more extensive than previously thought; the summit and both rift zones may be underlain by a thick, near vertical dike-like magma system at a depth of 3 to 9 kilometers.