Geology Of Kilauea Volcano

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Journal Article: Geology Of Kilauea Volcano

This paper summarizes studies of the structure, stratigraphy, petrology, drill holes, eruption frequency, and volcanic and seismic hazards of Kilauea volcano. All the volcano is discussed, but the focus is on its lower cast rift zone (LERZ) because active exploration for geothermal energy is concentrated in that area. Kilauea probably has several separate hydrothermal-convection systems that develop in response to the dynamic behavior of the volcano and the influx of abundant meteoric water. Important features of some of these hydrothermal-convection systems are known through studies of surface geology and drill holes. Observations of eruptions during the past two centuries, detailed geologic mapping, radiocarbon dating, and paleomagnetic secular-variation studies indicate that Kilauea has erupted frequently from its summit and two radial rift zones during Quaternary time. Petrologic studies have established that Kilauea erupts only tholeiitic basalt. Extensive ash deposits at Kilauea's summit and on its LERZ record locally violent, but temporary, disruptions of local hydrothermal-convection systems during the interaction of water or steam with magma. Recent drill holes on the LERZ provide data on the temperatures of the hydrothermal-convection systems, intensity of dike intrusion, porosity and permeability, and an increasing amount of hydrothermal alteration with depth. The prehistoric and historic record of volcanic and seismic activity indicates that magma will continue to be supplied to deep and shallow reservoirs beneath Kilauea's summit and rift zones and that the volcano will be affected by eruptions and earthquakes for many thousands of years.

Richard B. Moore and Frank A. Trusdell

Published Journal 
Geothermics, 1993




Richard B. Moore,Frank A. Trusdell. 1993. Geology Of Kilauea Volcano. Geothermics. (!) .