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Explosive Activity on Kīlauea's Lower East Rift Zone Fueled by a Volatile-Rich, Dacitic Melt

Wieser, Penny E. and Edmonds, Marie and Gansecki, Cheryl and Maclennan, John and Jenner, Frances E. and Kunz, Barbara and Antoshechkina, Paula and Trusdell, Frank and Lee, R. L. (2022) Explosive Activity on Kīlauea's Lower East Rift Zone Fueled by a Volatile-Rich, Dacitic Melt. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 23 (2). Art. No. e2021GC010046. ISSN 1525-2027. doi:10.1029/2021gc010046.

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Magmas with matrix glass compositions ranging from basalt to dacite erupted from a series of 24 fissures in the first 2 weeks of the 2018 Lower East Rift Zone (LERZ) eruption of Kīlauea Volcano. Eruption styles ranged from low spattering and fountaining to strombolian activity. Major element trajectories in matrix glasses and melt inclusions hosted by olivine, pyroxene and plagioclase are consistent with variable amounts of fractional crystallization, with incompatible elements (e.g., Cl, F, and H₂O) becoming enriched by 4–5 times as melt MgO contents evolve from 6 to 0.5 wt%. The high viscosity and high H₂O contents (∼2 wt%) of the dacitic melts erupting at Fissure 17 account for the explosive Strombolian behavior exhibited by this fissure, in contrast to the low fountaining and spattering observed at fissures erupting basaltic to basaltic-andesite melts. Saturation pressures calculated from melt inclusion CO₂-H₂O contents indicate that the magma reservoir(s) supplying these fissures was located at ∼2–3 km depth, which is in agreement with the depth of a dacitic magma body intercepted during drilling in 2005 (∼2.5 km) and a seismically imaged low Vp/Vs anomaly (∼2 km depth). Nb/Y ratios in erupted products are similar to lavas erupted between 1955 and 1960, indicating that melts were stored and underwent variable amounts of crystallization in the LERZ for >60 years before being remobilized by a dike intrusion in 2018. We demonstrate that extensive fractional crystallization generates viscous and volatile-rich magma with potential for hazardous explosive eruptions, which may be lurking undetected at many ocean island volcanoes.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription ItemMatlab codes
Wieser, Penny E.0000-0002-1070-8323
Edmonds, Marie0000-0003-1243-137X
Gansecki, Cheryl0000-0001-5581-9097
Maclennan, John0000-0001-6857-9600
Jenner, Frances E.0000-0003-2189-6478
Kunz, Barbara0000-0002-9492-1497
Antoshechkina, Paula0000-0002-3358-5186
Trusdell, Frank0000-0002-0681-0528
Additional Information:© 2022. The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Issue Online: 11 February 2022; Version of Record online: 11 February 2022; Accepted manuscript online: 22 January 2022; Manuscript accepted: 11 January 2022; Manuscript revised: 11 January 2022; Manuscript received: 19 July 2021. P. E. Wieser acknowledges funding from a NERC DTP studentship (NE/L002507/1), a NERC Edinburgh Ion Microprobe Facility grant (IMF675/1118), and a Cambridge University Leave to Work away grant. P. Antoshechkina acknowledges funding for development of alphaMELTS for MATLAB by the NSF through grant EAR-1947616. The authors also acknowledge support from the National Science Foundation ICER-20-26904, granted to OFM Research (PI. Ghiorso) for maintaining the ENKI server used to perform VESIcal calculations. P. E. Wieser thanks Matthew Gleeson for help running MELTS for MATLAB, including providing access to his high-powered desktop. P. E. Wieser thanks Iris Buisman and Guilio Lampronti for help collecting EPMA and SEM data for this study, Rod Kindel for the intrepid hike to Fissures 10, 11, and 12 in his backyard, Sarah Allen for help sampling these fissures, and Evgenia Ilyinskaya for coordinating the 2018 and 2019 field campaign. The authors thank Emily Johnson and two anonymous reviewers, along with associate editor Ken Rubin for very helpful and detailed comments which greatly improved this manuscript. Data Availability Statement: Data has been archived on Zenodo ( and GitHub (where example MELTS for MATLAB codes are also provided
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)NE/ L002507/1
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)IMF675/1118
Cambridge UniversityUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:melt inclusions; volatile solubility; dacites; magma storage; strombolian
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20220207-90333000
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Wieser, P. E., Edmonds, M., Gansecki, C., Maclennan, J., Jenner, F. E., Kunz, B., et al. (2022). Explosive activity on Kīlauea's Lower East Rift Zone fueled by a volatile-rich, dacitic melt. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 23, e2021GC010046.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:113315
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:08 Feb 2022 17:41
Last Modified:01 Mar 2022 21:50

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