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Effects of eruption and lava drainback on the H2O contents of basaltic magmas at Kilauea Volcano

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 Lava drainback has been observed during many eruptions at Kilauea Volcano: magma erupts, degasses in lava fountains, collects in surface ponds, and then drains back beneath the surface. Time series data for melt inclusions from the 1959 Kilauea Iki picrite provide important evidence concerning the effects of drainback on the H2O contents of basaltic magmas at Kilauea. Melt inclusions in olivine from the first eruptive episode, before any drainback occurred, have an average H2O content of 0.7±0.2 wt.%. In contrast, many inclusions from the later episodes, erupted after substantial amounts of surface degassed lava had drained back down the vent, have H2O contents that are much lower (≥0.24 wt.% H2O). Water contents in melt inclusions from magmas erupted at Pu'u 'O'o on the east rift zone vary from 0.39–0.51 wt.% H2O in tephra from high fountains to 0.10–0.28 wt.% H2O in spatter from low fountains. The low H2O contents of many melt inclusions from Pu'u 'O'o and post-drainback episodes of Kilauea Iki reveal that prior to crystallization of the enclosing olivine host, the melts must have exsolved H2O at pressures substantially less than those in Kilauea's summit magma reservoir. Such low-pressure H2O exsolution probably occurred as surface degassed magma was recycled by drainback and mixing with less degassed magma at depth. Recognition of the effects of low-pressure degassing and drainback leads to an estimate of 0.7 wt.% H2O for differentiated tholeiitic magma in Kilauea's summit magma storage reservoir. Data for MgO-rich submarine glasses (Clague et al. 1995) and melt inclusions from Kilauea Iki demonstrate that primary Kilauean tholeiitic magma has an H2O/K2O mass ratio of ∼1.3. At transition zone and upper mantle depths in the Hawaiian plume source, H2O probably resides partly in a small amount of hydrous silicate melt.

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Received: 31 March 1997 / Accepted: 17 November 1997

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Wallace, P., Anderson Jr., A. Effects of eruption and lava drainback on the H2O contents of basaltic magmas at Kilauea Volcano. Bull Volcanol 59, 327–344 (1998). https://doi.org/10.1007/s004450050195

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  • Key words Kilauea
  • Volcanic processes
  • Basalt
  • Volatiles
  • Degassing
  • Mantle