Gravity measurements on Mt. Kilauea, Hawaii

25 March 2019

Between the 16th and 29th of March, 2019 a joint expedition between volcanologists of the KNMI and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) will take place on Kilauea, Hawaii.

The active volcanic region showed an intensive eruptive phase throughout the spring of 2018 that destroyed, besides homes, multiple gravity campaign sites and damaged continuous gravity stations. The expedition will conduct gravity measurements on the volcano to examine its current status and rebuild what remains of the existing gravity monitoring infrastructure. Gravity measurements are indicative of underground mass-changes within a volcano and prove to be an essential tool in monitoring the internal conditions of the magmatic system.

Map showing the gravity stations on Mt. Kilauea. Red stations are confirmed to be destroyed during the 2018 eruptive phase.

The fieldwork includes the establishment of new campaign sites that can monitor changes in the magmatic system over time facilitating future surveys. During the fieldwork gravity measurements will be done 1) in the main caldera on a block that dropped 500 meters into the crater during the last eruption. 2) in the southern caldera,and 3) along the Halina Pali line near the epicenter of a magnitude 6.9 Earthquake on May 4th, 2018.