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Magnetotelluric investigations of the Kīlauea Volcano, Hawaii

August 22, 2022

In 2002 and 2003 a collaborative effort was undertaken between Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Menlo Park, the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, and Electromagnetic Instruments Inc. to study the Kīlauea volcano in Hawaii using the magnetotelluric (MT) technique. The work was motivated by a desire to improve understanding of the magma reservoirs and conduits within Kīlauea and the East and Southwest Rift zones, which has implications for understanding Kīlauea's plumbing system. An improved understanding of the rift zones has implications in understanding large-scale landslides that are generated in the Hilina Slump, which produce significant impacts on coastal communities. Up to eight stations operated simultaneously, with multiple remote reference sites, and data were processed using multi-station robust processing techniques. In total, data were acquired at 70 sites over the Southwest and East rift zones. Good to excellent quality data were obtained even in the harshest conditions, such as those encountered on the fresh lava flows of the East Rift Zone, where electrical contact resistances are on the order of 100 kΩ. A three-dimensional (3D) MT model study was done to guide interpretation of the observed MT measurements. Synthetic modeling demonstrates that conductive bodies in the upper 3 km can be spatially resolved where MT station sampling is good. Resistivity anomalies in the 3D inversions have a high degree of spatial correlation with previously published seismic velocity anomalies beneath Kīlauea. Melt fractions between 0.096 and 0.117 are calculated for the Kīlauea and Puʻuʻōʻō low resistivity anomalies, respectively.

Publication Year 2022
Title Magnetotelluric investigations of the Kīlauea Volcano, Hawaii
DOI 10.1029/2022JB024418
Authors G.M. Hoversten, Erika Gasperikova, Randall Mackie, David Myer, James P. Kauahikaua, Greg A. Newman, Nestor Cuevas
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Index ID 70235807
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Volcano Science Center