Papers on Seismology
The three-dimensional structure of Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii, from travel time tomography
Article first published online: 20 SEP 2012
Copyright 1993 by the American Geophysical Union.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth (1978–2012)
Volume 98, Issue B3, pages 4355–4375, 10 March 1993
How to Cite
1993), The three-dimensional structure of Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii, from travel time tomography, J. Geophys. Res., 98(B3), 4355–4375, doi:10.1029/92JB02531., and (
- Issue published online: 20 SEP 2012
- Article first published online: 20 SEP 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 21 OCT 1992
- Manuscript Received: 30 NOV 1990
A linear, travel time tomography study of the most active shield volcano of the world, Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii, was undertaken to determine the lateral heterogeneities produced by its intricate magmatic and tectonic environment. Kilauea provides an ideal setting to do tomography because of its dense seismograph array and many local earthquakes that allow excellent ray coverage of complex subsurface features. Local P wave data from ∼ 12,295 events were inverted using a one-dimensional layered velocity model. Inversions were done for two cell sizes (5×5×5 km and 1×1×1 km) to resolve structural regions on different length scales. This study provided a view of the average velocity variations relative to a one-dimensional velocity model. Analysis and interpretation of the tomographic images allowed us to infer the following model. The main shallow magma reservoir is delineated by a slow velocity region southeast of the summit from 0 to 2 km depth. There is a distinct high velocity region centered northwest of the summit from 0 to 2 km depth that represents a cap of dense, intrusive dikes surrounding the magma chamber. We suggest that the shallow reservoir is a narrow, compartmentalized region of sills and dikes, centered just south-southeast of Halemaumau caldera. Below the main reservoir, the summit is imaged as a slightly fast region from 5 to 10 km in the coarse model indicating that the main conduit is structurally defined by an intrusive dike complex until about 10 km. The rift zones of Kilauea are imaged as major, high velocity entities, widening to the south with depth until 6 km. These fast anomalies are related to the sheeted dike complexes along the rifts. On a finer scale, slow anomalies suggest the presence of magma pockets centered at 0–2 km depth beneath Mauna Ulu, Makaopuhi and Puu Oo, along the east rift zone (ERZ). Two significant high velocity regions along the lower ERZ near Kalalua and Kaliu are inferred to represent intrusive barriers to magma injection along the shallow (0–4 km) ERZ conduit. The southwest rift zone may have an intrusive barrier related to a high velocity region just southwest of Mauna Iki. The Hilina and Kaoiki fault zones are imaged as slow features at shallow depths (< 5 km) related to the open fractures and scarps along the normal faults. The Koae fault system is imaged as a slightly fast shallow structure (< 6 km) possibly related to intrusive diking from the adjacent rift zones that fill and may even induce the extensional structures associated with this complex fault zone. Continued inversions with the immense amount of seismic data collected for Hawaiian events will allow the detailed development of a three-dimensional structural model for Kilauea. Such a model will be extremely useful to seismologists and petrologists alike for understanding the tectonic growth and magmatic evolution of this dynamic shield volcano.