Kilauea and the Volcanism of the Hawaiian Islands

explanatory Essay
1663 words
1663 words

Kilauea is in the Hawaiian island chain, one of several dome volcanoes that form the big island of Hawaii. The unique feature of the islands stands in contrast to what we know about global plate tectonic theory and volcanoes that have formed around the ring of fire in the Pacific Ocean. Kilauea and the Hawaiian volcanic chain are driven by a geologic hot spot that is located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Thomas Jager was one of the pioneer researchers of Hawaiian volcanism and opened the way for the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory established in 1912.

Kilauea and the Hawaiian volcanic chain are known for their gentle eruptions which are result of their basaltic magmas with low viscosity and low gas content. This forms fluid flows of lava with temperatures near 2100 degrees Fahrenheit. These conditions allow for research and close observation during active volcanic episodes currently ongoing at Kilauea and nearby sites. Investigations by the use of long-period seismicity have given us a better understanding of the hydrothermal systems beneath volcanoes like Kilauea. Earthquakes generally happen around magma body intrusions from the raised heat and pressure triggering acoustic vibrations. By plotting long-period waveforms points of origin, we can get a picture of the size and depth of the magma body. Research points to the existence of a horizontal crack at 150 m near the Halemaumau crater, a pit located within the summit caldera of Kilauea. This crack caused by leaking gases raised the overall hydrothermal pressure and caused a rapid increase of volcanic fluid ( Kumagai, Hiroyuki, Bernard A. Chouet, and Phillip B. Dawson 2005). Long-period seismicity has enhanced our understanding of volcanoes hydrothermal structure.

Two ye...

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...nvironmental Health: Part A 73, no. 20: 1370-1381

Matzen, Andrew K., Michael B. Baker, John R. Beckett, and Edward M. Stolper. 2011. Fe–Mg Partitioning between Olivine and High-magnesian Melts and the Nature of Hawaiian Parental Liquids. Journal Of Petrology 52, no. 7/8: 1243-1263.

Pritchard, M. E., A. M. Rubin, and C. J. Wolfe. 2007. Do flexural stresses explain the mantle fault zone beneath Kilauea volcano?. Geophysical Journal International 168, no. 1: 419-430.

Sisson, T. W., J.-I. Kimura, and M. L. Coombs. 2009. Basanite–nephelinite suite from early Kilauea: carbonated melts of phlogopite–garnet peridotite at Hawaii’s leading magmatic edge. Contributions To Mineralogy & Petrology 158, no. 6: 803-829

Some unanswered questions [This Dynamic Earth, USGS]. USGS Publications Warehouse.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that kilauea and the hawaiian volcanic chain are driven by a geologic hot spot located in the middle of the pacific ocean.
  • Explains how long-period seismicity has improved our understanding of volcanoes hydrothermal structure. earthquakes occur around magma body intrusions from raised heat and pressure triggering acoustic vibrations.
  • Explains how two years later a new group of researchers re-evaluated the findings of long-period signals and gave new insights and better understanding into source mechanisms.
  • Explains that the magma pipe structure under kilauea has long been a source of argument among researchers. recent research suggests that flexural stresses explain this horizontal fault zone.
  • Explains that high temporal thermal resolution has given researchers an internal look at subterranean lava flows within the kilauea crater.
  • Explains that the volcanic composition of lava on the kilauea shield has changed over time and been studied for their evolutionary changes.
  • Explains that studies looking for the liquid composition of early magmas in kilauea suggest a match to upper mantle areas beneath the base of the lithosphere.
  • Explains the compositional make-up of the hawaiian lavas is critical to understanding their origins within the mantle. synthetically formed magmas suggest parental liquids of hawaiian tholeiites must be highly magnesian
  • Explains that mantle plumes have long been a puzzling mystery for geologists trying to postulate their driving source and function within the puzzle of plate tectonics.
  • Explains that the study of volcanic activity in the hawaiian islands has advanced much of our knowledge and understanding of these features produced by earth, but their effects on humans often go overlooked.
  • Explains that vog, volcanically produced smog, is produced by volcanic eruptions and looks similar to los angeles in the summer. the persistent eruption at kilauea has produced sulfurous pollutions injected into the atmosphere that can cause a wide range of health problems.
  • Opines that kilauea and the hawaiian island chain offers a wide variety of opportunities to study from the inner workings of an active volcano to deep earth functions.
  • Explains that topography and crustal heterogeneities influence the source estimation of lp event at kilauea volcano.
  • Explains the source process of a long-period event at kilauea volcano, hawaii.
  • Explains matzen, andrew k., michael b. baker, john r. beckett, and edward m. stolper. fe–mg partitioning between olivine and high-magnesian melts and the nature of hawaiian parental liquids.
  • Opines that flexural stresses explain the mantle fault zone beneath kilauea volcano?
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