As a research geophysicist at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Ashton Flinders, is responsible for the observatory's gravity monitoring program. His interests lie at the cross section of crustal geophysics and ocean mapping, exploration and characterization. Dr. Flinders is a USGS Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellow and Presidential Management Fellow (PMF) alumnus.
Ashton Flinders is a Research Geophysicist at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. His research covers marine and subaerial geophysics and ocean mapping, exploration and characterization, with emphasis on imaging crustal magma systems using seismic and gravity methods. He has produced one of the only few full-waveform seismic tomography models of a U.S. volcano (Long Valley, California; Flinders and others, 2018).
He is also interested in regional/global-scale marine data compilations and his Hawaiian Islands marine and land gravity (Flinders and others, 2010), and U.S. Arctic Extended Continental Shelf (ECS) regional bathymetry (Flinders and others, 2014) data compilations are the definitive datasets for these regions.
He has participated in 17 research cruises including three cruises as lead hydrographer, four quality-assurance/sea-acceptance test in support of the National Science Foundation’s Multibeam Advisory Committee, two cruises supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Ocean Exploration, and seven Remotely Operated Vehicle cruises.
He is also a Presidential Management Fellow alumnus, with training focused on collaborative and cooperative problem solving and leadership.
Ph.D. in geological oceanography from the University of Rhode Island's Graduate School of Oceanography
M.S. in geophysics from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
M.S. in ocean engineering from the University of New Hampshire's Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping
B.S. degrees in chemistry and applied physics from the University of Wisconsin, River Falls
Science and Products
gTOOLS, an open-source MATLAB program for processing high precision, relative gravity data for time-lapse gravity monitoring
Density structure of the island of Hawai’i and the implications for gravity-driven motion of the south flank of Kilauea volcano
Post audit of simulated groundwater flow to a short-lived (2019-2020) crater lake at Kīlauea Volcano
The contribution of water radiolysis to marine sedimentary life
Very‐long‐period (VLP) seismic artifacts during the 2018 caldera collapse at Kīlauea, Hawaii
Modeling groundwater inflow to the new crater lake at Kīlauea Volcano, Hawaiʻi
Seismic velocity variations associated with the 2018 lower East Rift Zone eruption of Kīlauea, Hawaiʻi
Post-1978 tumescence at Long Valley Caldera, California: A geophysical perspective
Locating shallow seismic sources with waves scattered by surface topography: Validation of the method at the Nevada Test Site
Upper mantle earth structure in Africa from full-wave ambient noise tomography
Seismic evidence for significant melt beneath the Long Valley Caldera, California, USA
Seismic evidence for a possible deep crustal hot zone beneath Southwest Washington
Data of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) Kīlauea Campaign Gravity Network (KCGN)
Water-level data for the crater lake at the summit of Kilauea Volcano, Island of Hawai'i, 2019-2020
Science and Products
gTOOLS, an open-source MATLAB program for processing high precision, relative gravity data for time-lapse gravity monitoringgTOOLS is an open-source software for the processing of relative gravity data. gTOOLS is available in MATLAB and as a compiled executable to be run under the free MATLAB Runtime Compiler. The software has been designed for time-lapse (temporal) gravity monitoring. Although programmed to read the Scintrex CG-5 and CG-6 gravimeters output data files, it can be easily modified to read data files fromAuthorsMaurizio Battaglia, Antonina Calahorrano-Di Patre, Ashton Flinders
Density structure of the island of Hawai’i and the implications for gravity-driven motion of the south flank of Kilauea volcanoThe discovery that large landslides dissected the Hawaiian islands, scattering debris over thousands of square kilometers of seafloor, changed our ideas of island growth and evolution. The evidence is consistent with catastrophic flank collapse during volcano growth, and draws our focus to the currently active island of Hawai’i, the volcanoes Mauna Loa and Kīlauea, and particularly to the activelyAuthorsRoger P. Denlinger, Ashton F. Flinders
Post audit of simulated groundwater flow to a short-lived (2019-2020) crater lake at Kīlauea VolcanoAbout 14.5 months after the 2018 eruption and summit collapse of Kīlauea Volcano, Hawaiʻi, liquid water started accumulating in the deepened summit crater, forming a lake that attained 51 m depth before rapidly boiling off on December 20, 2020, when an eruption from the crater wall poured lava into the lake. Modeling the growth of the crater lake at Kīlauea summit is important for assessing the poAuthorsAshton F. Flinders, James P. Kauahikaua, Paul A. Hsieh, Steven E. Ingebritsen
The contribution of water radiolysis to marine sedimentary lifeWater radiolysis continuously produces H2 and oxidized chemicals in wet sediment and rock. Radiolytic H2 has been identified as the primary electron donor (food) for microorganisms in continental aquifers kilometers below Earth’s surface. Radiolytic products may also be significant for sustaining life in subseafloor sediment and subsurface environments of other planets. However, the extent to whicAuthorsJustine F. Sauvage, Ashton F. Flinders, Arthur J. Spivack, Robert Pockalny, Ann G. Dunlea, Chloe H. Anderson, David Smith, Richard W. Murray, Steven D’Hondt
Very‐long‐period (VLP) seismic artifacts during the 2018 caldera collapse at Kīlauea, HawaiiThroughout the 2018 eruption of Kīlauea volcano (Hawai‘i), episodic collapses of a portion of the volcano’s summit caldera produced repeated Mw 4.9–5.3 earthquakes. Each of these 62 events was characterized by a very‐long‐period (VLP) seismic signal (>40 s). Although collapses in the later stage of the eruption produced earthquakes with significant amplitude clipping on near‐summit broadband seAuthorsAshton F. Flinders, Ingrid Johanson, Phillip B. Dawson, Kyle R. Anderson, Matthew M. Haney, Brian Shiro
Modeling groundwater inflow to the new crater lake at Kīlauea Volcano, HawaiʻiDuring the 2018 eruption of Kīlauea Volcano, Hawai'i, scientists relied heavily on a conceptual model of explosive eruptions triggered when lava‐lake levels drop below the water table. Numerical modeling of multiphase groundwater flow and heat transport revealed that, contrary to expectations, liquid water inflow to the drained magma conduit would likely be delayed by months to years, owing to theAuthorsSteven E. Ingebritsen, Ashton F. Flinders, James P. Kauahikaua, Paul A. Hsieh
Seismic velocity variations associated with the 2018 lower East Rift Zone eruption of Kīlauea, HawaiʻiThe 2018 lower East Rift Zone eruption of Kīlauea (Hawai‘i) marked a dramatic change in the volcano’s 35-year-long rift zone eruption. The collapse of the middle East Rift Zone vent Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō was followed by one of the volcano’s most voluminous eruptions in 500 years. Over the course of this 3-month eruption, the draining of summit-stored magma led to near-daily collapses of a portion of the caldeAuthorsAshton F. Flinders, Corentin Caudron, Ingrid Johanson, Taka'aki Taira, Brian Shiro, Matthew M. Haney
Post-1978 tumescence at Long Valley Caldera, California: A geophysical perspectiveLong Valley Caldera has been restless since at least 1978. Prominent symptoms of this unrest include earthquake swarms and tumescence (inflation) centered on the resurgent dome. Over the years, interpretations of physical processes underlying this unrest have varied considerably. Results from a collection of geophysical studies infer the presence and/or active intrusion of magma in the crust. GeolAuthorsDavid P. Hill, Emily Montgomery-Brown, David R. Shelly, Ashton F. Flinders, Stephanie Prejean
Locating shallow seismic sources with waves scattered by surface topography: Validation of the method at the Nevada Test SiteAccurate and robust source location is fundamental in seismology. Previously, we proposed a new full waveform location method using waves scattered by topography near the source, and we demonstrated its potential in obtaining accurate source location using synthetic data. In the work presented here, we validate this method with observed seismic data from the 1993 Non-Proliferation Experiment, a chAuthorsNian Wang, Yang Shen, Xueyang Bao, Ashton F. Flinders
Upper mantle earth structure in Africa from full-wave ambient noise tomographyOur understanding of the tectonic development of the African continent and the interplay between its geological provinces is hindered by unevenly distributed seismic instrumentation. In order to better understand the continent, we used long-period ambient noise full waveform tomography on data collected from 186 broadband seismic stations throughout Africa and surrounding regions to better image tAuthorsErica L. Emry, Yang Shen, Andrew A. Nyblade, Ashton F. Flinders, Xueyang Bao
Seismic evidence for significant melt beneath the Long Valley Caldera, California, USAA little more than 760 ka ago, a supervolcano on the eastern edge of California (United States) underwent one of North America's largest Quaternary explosive eruptions. Over this ~6-day-long eruption, pyroclastic flows blanketed the surrounding ~50 km with more than 1400 km3 of the now-iconic Bishop Tuff, with ashfall reaching as far east as Nebraska. Collapse of the volcano's magma reservoir creaAuthorsAshton F. Flinders, David R. Shelly, Phillip B. Dawson, David P. Hill, Barbara Tripoli, Yang Shen
Seismic evidence for a possible deep crustal hot zone beneath Southwest WashingtonCrustal pathways connecting deep sources of melt and the active volcanoes they supply are poorly understood. Beneath Mounts St. Helens, Adams, and Rainier these pathways connect subduction-induced ascending melts to shallow magma reservoirs. Petrogenetic modeling predicts that when these melts are emplaced as a succession of sills into the lower crust they generate deep crustal hot zones. While thAuthorsAshton F. Flinders, Yang Shen
Data of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) Kīlauea Campaign Gravity Network (KCGN)Data Description Campaign microgravity surveys have been conducted at K?lauea, Hawai‘i (USA), since 1975 (Dzurisin and others, 1980) and, when combined with deformation measurements, enable insights into mass change within the volcano (Jachens and Eaton, 1980; Johnson, 1992; Kauahikaua and Miklius, 2003; Johnson and others, 2010; Bagnardi and others, 2014; Poland and others 2019). For example, mic
Water-level data for the crater lake at the summit of Kilauea Volcano, Island of Hawai'i, 2019-2020During 2018, Kilauea Volcano, on the Island of Hawaiii, had a large effusive eruption (~1 cubic kilometer of lava) on the lower East Rift Zone that caused widespread destruction (Neal and others, 2019; Dietterich and others, 2021). This lower flank eruption was accompanied by one of the largest collapses of the summit caldera in two hundred years, with portions of the caldera floor subsiding more