The shallow structure of Kīlauea caldera from high-resolution Bouguer gravity and total magnetic anomaly mapping: Insights into progressive magma reservoir growth


Corresponding author: J. Zurek, Department of Earth Sciences, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Dr. Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6, Canada. (


[1] We conducted total magnetic field and Bouguer gravity measurements to investigate the shallow structure beneath the summit caldera of Kīlauea Volcano, Hawai'i. Two significant and distinctive magnetic anomalies were identified within the caldera. One is interpreted to be associated with a long-lived prehistoric eruptive center, the Observatory vent, located ~1 km east of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. The second magnetic anomaly corresponds to a set of eruptive fissures that strike northeast from Halema'uma'u Crater, suggesting this is an important transport pathway for magma. The Bouguer gravity data were inverted to produce 3-D models of density contrasts in the upper 2 km beneath Kīlauea. The models detect 3.0 km3 of material, denser than 2800 kg m−3, beneath the caldera that may represent an intrusive complex centered northeast of Halema'uma'u. Recent temporal gravity studies indicate continual addition of mass beneath the caldera during 1975–2008 centered west of Halema'uma'u and suggest this is due to filling of void space. The growth of a large intrusive complex, apparent cyclical caldera formation, and continual mass addition without inflation, however, can also be explained by extensional rifting caused by the continual southward movement of Kīlauea's unstable south flank.