Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Olivine and glass chemistry record cycles of plumbing system recovery after summit collapse events at Kīlauea Volcano, Hawai‘i

April 8, 2022

The eruptive activity of Kīlauea Volcano (Hawai‘i) in the past 2500 years has alternated between centuries-long periods dominated either by explosive or effusive eruptions. The onset of explosive periods appears to be marked by caldera collapse events at the volcano's summit accompanied by draining of Kīlauea's magmatic plumbing system. Here we leverage >1800 olivine forsterite (Fo) contents, >900 glass MgO contents, and estimated magma supply rates from the past six centuries to describe the relationships between summit collapse and the composition of erupted material. On a first order basis, the major element chemistry of the centuries-long eruptive periods largely originates from fundamental differences between fractional crystallization of shallowly stored magmas during high-supply effusive-dominated periods versus little evolution of mafic recharge magmas during low-supply explosive-dominated periods. The modern effusive period (1820s-present) is dominated by relatively evolved olivine forsterite contents (Fo81–82) for Kīlauea, which is interpreted to reflect a buffered crustal reservoir system in which shallow storage and fractional crystallization control the composition of magmas. In contrast, olivine crystals from the explosive Keanakāko‘i Tephra (1500 - early 1800s C.E.) are dominated by higher olivine forsterite contents (Fo89) which are interpreted to reflect more primitive compositions, are correlated with glass MgO compositions extending to high values (e.g.,11.0 wt%), and show signs of magma mixing (zoned olivine, bimodal Fo populations). These signatures reflect a disrupted reservoir system in which high-MgO recharge melts mix with melts left over from draining of the shallow (<5 km) magma plumbing.

Superimposed on these explosive-effusive periods are three decades- to centuries long periods of progressively evolving olivine and glass compositions. Eruptions that occur after caldera collapse in ~1500C.E. and smaller scale crater collapse events in 1790 (inferred) and 1924 have heterogeneous olivine populations dominated by ≥Fo88 and typically high MgO glasses. These compositions reflect inefficient mixing of stored and primitive recharge magmas after the disruption of the shallow plumbing system. After these collapses, olivine Fo and glass MgO subsequently evolve to

Citation Information

Publication Year 2022
Title Olivine and glass chemistry record cycles of plumbing system recovery after summit collapse events at Kīlauea Volcano, Hawai‘i
DOI 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2022.107540
Authors Kendra Lynn, Donald A. Swanson
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research (JVGR)
Index ID 70230589
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Volcano Science Center

Related Content