Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Ages, rare-earth element enrichment, and petrogenesis of tholeiitic and alkalic basalts from Kahoolawe Island, Hawaii

January 1, 1992

Kahoolawe Island, Hawaii (18×11 km), is a basaltic shield volcano with caldera-filling lavas, seven identified postshield vents, and at least two occurrences of apparent rejuvenated-stage eruptive. We examined 42 samples that represent all stages of Kahoolawe volcano stratigraphy for their petrography, whole-rock major-and trace-element contents, mineral compositions, and K−Ar ages. The two oldest shield samples have an average age of 1.34±0.08 Ma, and four postshield samples (3 are alkalic) average 1.15±0.03 Ma; ages of 1.08 and 0.99 Ma for two additional tholeiitic samples probably are minimum ages. Whole-rock major- and trace-element and mineral compositions of Kahoolawe shield and caldera-fill laves are generally similar to the lavas forming Kilauea and Mauna Loa tholeiitic shields, but in detail, Kahoolawe shield lavas have distinctive compositions. An unusual aspect of many postshield Ka-hoolawe lavas is anomalously high REE and Y abundances (up to 200 ppm La and 175 ppm Y) and negative Ce anomalies. These enrichments reflect surficial processes, where weathering and soil development promoted REE-Y transport at the weathering front. Major element abundances (MgO, 10–6 wt.%) for shield and caldera-fill basalts are consistent with fractionation of ol+px+pl in frequently replenished magma reservoirs. In general, tholeiitic basalts erupted from late vents are higher in SiO2 than the shield lavas, and temporal differences in parental magma compositions are the likely explanation. Alkalic basalts that erupted from vents are comparable in composition to those at other Hawaiian volcanoes. Trace-element abundance ratios indicate that alkalic basalts represent either relatively lower degrees of melting of the shield source or a distinct source. Apparent rejuvenated-stage basalts (i.e., emplaced after substantial Kahoolawe erosion) are tholeiitic, unlike the rejuvenated-stages at other Hawaiian volcanoes (alkalic). Kahoolawe, like several other Hawaiian volcanoes, has intercalated tholeiitic and alkalic basalts in the postshield stage, but it is the only volcano that appears to have produced tholeiitic rejuvenated-stage lavas.

Publication Year 1992
Title Ages, rare-earth element enrichment, and petrogenesis of tholeiitic and alkalic basalts from Kahoolawe Island, Hawaii
DOI 10.1007/BF00344080
Authors R.V. Fodor, F.A. Frey, G.R. Bauer, D. A. Clague
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Index ID 70017240
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse