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Loss of volatiles during fountaining and flowage of basaltic lava at Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii

November 1, 1973

The amount of water and sulfur in pumice erupted during periods of vigorous activity during the 1969-71 Mauna Ulu eruption varied inversely with fountain height because of degassing during the fountaining. The pumice lost about 0.05 wt percent water and 0.003 wt percent sulfur during fountaining to heights of 400-540 m. Analyses suggest that the initial volatile content of Mauna Ulu lava was greater immediately preceding periods of high fountaining than during weak activity between those periods or after the last high fountains on December 30, 1969. Water and sulfur were systematically depleted during nearly isothermal flowage in lava tubes. Rapidly quenched samples of dipped melt show losses of about 0.03-0.04 wt percent water and 0.007-0.008 wt percent sulfur during flowage for several hours through a distance of 12 km. Glassy skins on cooled pahoehoe flows contain about 0.002-0.003 wt percent less sulfur than quenched melt at comparable distances from the vent, because of continued degassing under natural cooling conditions. Chlorine shows similar but less well defined trends. Pumice erupted in high fountains becomes more strongly oxidized than the parent magma, because of mixing with air while still at high temperatures.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1973
Title Loss of volatiles during fountaining and flowage of basaltic lava at Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii
Authors Donald A. Swanson, Brent P. Fabbi
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Research of the U.S. Geological Survey
Series Number
Index ID 70162001
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization