Madrid, 27 years old (European press)
Kilauea is located along the southeast coast of Hawaii and is estimated to be between 210,000 and 280,000 years old, rising above sea level about 100,000 years ago.
In a study published in Nature Communications, lead author Dr. Laura Miller, from Monash University’s School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment, shows for the first time that Hawaiian volcanoes were born from magma that developed in an unusually deep (>90 km) magma chamber.
A magma chamber is a large pool of liquid rock beneath the Earth’s surface.
“We got some of the first volcanic products that erupted from Kilauea,” Dr. Miller said. “We explored the composition of these samples through experimental work, which included melting synthetic rocks at high temperatures (>1100 °C) and pressures (>3 gigapascals), and using a novel method for modeling their concentrations of rare earth elements.
“We found that the samples could only be formed by crystallization and demineralization (partial crystallization) of the garnet.”
Kilauea in Hawaiian means “vomit” or “a lot of spreading” and refers to the continuous flow of lava.
“Our study unequivocally demonstrates the role of opal crystallization in the formation of the Hawaiian melt in the pre-volcanic shield formation stage,” said Dr. Miller.
“This challenges the current view that partial crystallization is only a superficial process and suggests that the development of a deep magma chamber (>90 km) is an important early stage in the birth of the Hawaiian volcano.”
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