Modulation of seismic activity in Kīlauea's upper East Rift Zone (Hawai'i) by summit pressurization

Christelle Wauthier, Diana C. Roman, Michael P. Poland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Kīlauea Volcano (Hawai'i, USA) is underlain by a complex, laterally extensive magmatic plumbing system. Although in recent decades it has mainly erupted through vents along the middle East Rift Zone and summit caldera, eruptions can occur anywhere along its laterally extensive rift zones, as demonstrated by the dramatic eruptive activity of 2018. Forecasting eruptive activity requires an understanding of whether an episode of volcano-seismic unrest at Kīlauea and similar volcanoes is caused directly at the edges of an active intrusion or reservoir, or in a volume of wall rock at a distance from the intrusion. Seismic unrest in Kīlauea's upper East Rift Zone (UERZ) has to date been interpreted as the result either of magma intrusion in this region of the volcano or of stresses due to seaward flank migration. However, recent observations suggest that UERZ seismicity may result from variable pressurization of Kīlauea's summit magma system. We analyze seismic and deformation (multi-temporal interferometric synthetic aperture radar [InSAR] and GPS) data during a period of variable summit deformation and UERZ seismicity in mid- to late 2007 and calculate Coulomb stress changes on UERZ faults due to modeled summit inflation or deflation. UERZ seismicity during our study period can be explained entirely by stresses arising from pressure changes within Kīlauea's summit reservoirs. Furthermore, a comparison of UERZ fault plane solutions (FPSs) calculated for this study to published UERZ FPSs for previous periods suggests that the UERZ has undergone a transition from a mechanically strong, discontinuous, and immature magma transport system to a mature, mechanically weak, and fully connected transport system over the course of the 1983-2018 eruption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)820-824
Number of pages5
JournalGeology
Volume47
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Fingerprint

rift zone
volcano
seismicity
magma
fault plane
volcanic eruption
seismic activity
deflation
stress change
wall rock
caldera
inflation
synthetic aperture radar
GPS

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology

Cite this

Wauthier, Christelle ; Roman, Diana C. ; Poland, Michael P. / Modulation of seismic activity in Kīlauea's upper East Rift Zone (Hawai'i) by summit pressurization. In: Geology. 2019 ; Vol. 47, No. 9. pp. 820-824.
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Modulation of seismic activity in Kīlauea's upper East Rift Zone (Hawai'i) by summit pressurization. / Wauthier, Christelle; Roman, Diana C.; Poland, Michael P.

In: Geology, Vol. 47, No. 9, 01.01.2019, p. 820-824.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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