This study presents rock magnetic properties and the magnetic mineralogy of subaerial and submarine lava flows of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea volcanoes collected from the 3109 m deep HSDP-2 drill hole in Hawaii. Three different groups of magnetic behavior are recognized in the subaerial lava flows related to the degree of high temperature oxidation during extrusion. Group 1 shows homogenous titanomagnetite with low Xmt, low Curie temperatures (TC: 100°–200°C) and weak median demagnetizing fields (< 20 mT). Further subdivision into 1a and 1b subgroups is based on the low temperature behavior of magnetic susceptibility (MS) and hysteresis loops, which indicate a contribution from ferrimagnetic Cr-Al spinel below ca. −160°C in the 1b-type samples. Group 2 samples, with exsolution lamellae of ilmenite in the titanomagnetites, have higher TC (480°–580°C) and higher coercive forces (20–40 mT). Group 3, the highest oxidation stage, is characterized by titanohematite-bearing assemblages with enhanced median demagnetizing fields (35–85 mT) and a significantly different low-temperature MS behavior. MS core logging shows a systematic variation occurs in the subaerial lava flows, directly related to the degree of high temperature oxidation and their flow morphology. Aa lava flows have higher mean MS than other lava flow types. Besides these factors, MS appears to be also affected by the magma composition of the various shield-building stages. Mauna Loa subaerial lava flows generally show lower mean susceptibilities (4.6 ± 3 × 10−3 SI) than subaerial Mauna Kea lava flows (9.8 ± 5 × 10−3 SI). As submarine lava flows show no group 3 assemblages no high temperature oxidation influenced these rocks. Some hyaloclastites and pillow breccias show low MS (< 1 × 10−3 SI), small amounts of nearly pure magnetite (TC = 580°C) and high coercive forces up to 110 mT suggesting single domain and/or superparamagnetic behavior. The controlling mechanism of the magnetic properties in the submarine lava units is the cooling and quenching rate of lava flows, which creates large grain size variations in titanomagnetites of varying compositions. Hydrothermal alteration, as described from ocean floor or Icelandic basalts, is not an important process that influences the magnetic properties in the ocean island basalts from the HSDP-2 drill hole.