Microgravity Change During the 2008–2018 Kı̄lauea Summit Eruption: Nearly a Decade of Subsurface Mass Accumulation

M. R. Koymans*, E. de Zeeuw-van Dalfsen, L. G. Evers, M. P. Poland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)


Results from nine microgravity campaigns from Kı̄lauea, Hawaiʻi, spanning most of the volcano's 2008–2018 summit eruption, indicate persistent mass accumulation at shallow levels. A weighted least squares approach is used to recover microgravity results from a network of benchmarks around Kı̄lauea's summit, eliminate instrumental drift, and restore suspected data tares. A total mass of 1.9 × 1011 kg was determined from these microgravity campaigns to have accumulated below Kı̄lauea Caldera during 2009–2015 at an estimated depth of 1.3 km below sea level. Only a fraction of this mass is reflected in surface deformation, and this is consistent with previously reported discrepancies between subsurface mass accumulation and observed surface deformation. The discrepancy, amongst other independent evidence from gas emissions, seismicity, and continuous gravimetry, indicate densification of magma in the reservoirs below the volcano summit. This densification may have been driven by degassing through the summit vent. It is hypothesized that during the final years of the summit eruption, magma densification resulted in a buildup of pressure in the reservoirs that may have contributed to the lower East Rift Zone outbreak of 2018. The observed mass accumulation beneath Kı̄lauea could not have been detected through other techniques and illustrates the importance of microgravity measurements in volcano monitoring.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2022JB024739
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

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  • campaign
  • gravimetry
  • Hawaiʻi
  • Kīlauea
  • microgravity
  • volcano monitoring


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