Bulletin of Volcanology

, Volume 73, Issue 9, pp 1179–1186 | Cite as

Shallow degassing events as a trigger for very-long-period seismicity at Kīlauea Volcano, Hawai‘i

  • Matthew Patrick
  • David Wilson
  • David Fee
  • Tim Orr
  • Don Swanson
Research Article


The first eruptive activity at Kīlauea Volcano’s summit in 25 years began in March 2008 with the opening of a 35-m-wide vent in Halema‘uma‘u crater. The new activity has produced prominent very-long-period (VLP) signals corresponding with two new behaviors: episodic tremor bursts and small explosive events, both of which represent degassing events from the top of the lava column. Previous work has shown that VLP seismicity has long been present at Kīlauea’s summit, and is sourced approximately 1 km below Halema‘uma‘u. By integrating video observations, infrasound and seismic data, we show that the onset of the large VLP signals occurs within several seconds of the onset of the degassing events. This timing indicates that the VLP is caused by forces—sourced at or very near the lava free surface due to degassing—transmitted down the magma column and coupling to the surrounding rock at 1 km depth.


Very-long-period seismicity Lava lake Kilauea volcano Halema ‘uma‘u Gas-pistoning 



We thank Hawaiian Volcano Observatory staff for support and discussion. Phil Dawson and Bernard Chouet are greatly thanked for discussion and clarification. Reviews by David Shelly, Wendy McCausland and Emanuele Marchetti and an anonymous reviewer are greatly appreciated. This work was supported by the U.S. Geological Survey’s Volcano Science Center.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag (outside the USA) 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew Patrick
    • 1
  • David Wilson
    • 1
  • David Fee
    • 2
  • Tim Orr
    • 1
  • Don Swanson
    • 1
  1. 1.Hawaiian Volcano Observatory—US Geological SurveyHawai‘i National ParkUSA
  2. 2.Infrasound LaboratoryUniversity of Hawai‘i at MānoaKailua-KonaUSA

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