Magma flow between summit and Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō at K̄lauea Volcano, Hawai‘i


  • The images in Figures A2 and A3 were transposed when this article was published online on 29 July 2013. In addition, the captions for several figures were truncated in the issue PDF version of this article available on 3 September 2013. Both of these errors were corrected on 23 October 2013.


[1] Volcanic eruptions are often accompanied by spatiotemporal migration of ground deformation, a consequence of pressure changes within magma reservoirs and pathways. We modeled the propagation of pressure variations through the east rift zone (ERZ) of K̄lauea Volcano, Hawai‘i, caused by magma withdrawal during the early eruptive episodes (1983–1985) of the ongoing Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō-Kupaianaha eruption. Eruptive activity at the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō vent was typically accompanied by abrupt deflation that lasted for several hours and was followed by a sudden onset of gradual inflation once the eruptive episode had ended. Similar patterns of deflation and inflation were recorded at K̄lauea's summit, approximately 15 km to the northwest, albeit with time delays of hours. These delay times can be reproduced by modeling the spatiotemporal changes in magma pressure and flow rate within an elastic-walled dike that traverses K̄lauea's ERZ. Key parameters that affect the behavior of the magma-dike system are the dike dimensions, the elasticity of the wall rock, the magma viscosity, and to a lesser degree the magnitude and duration of the pressure variations themselves. Combinations of these parameters define a transport efficiency and a pressure diffusivity, which vary somewhat from episode to episode, resulting in variations in delay times. The observed variations in transport efficiency are most easily explained by small, localized changes to the geometry of the magma pathway.