Trace elements in olivine fingerprint the source of 2018 magmas and shed light on explosive-effusive eruption cycles at Kīlauea Volcano

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Understanding magma genesis and the evolution of intensive parameters (temperature, pressure, composition, degree of melting) in the mantle source of highly active volcanic systems is crucial for interpreting magma supply changes over time and recognizing cyclic behavior to anticipate future volcanic behavior. Major and trace elements in olivine are commonly used to study variations in mantle lithologies and melting conditions (e.g., temperature, pressure, oxygen fugacity) affecting the mantle over time. Here, we track the temporal evolution of primary melts through the most recent cycle of explosive and effusive eruptions at Kīlauea (Hawai‘i), which spans the last ∼500 years. We report major and trace elements in olivine from the last explosive period (∼1500 – early 1820's Keanakāko‘i Tephra) and the most recent decade of the current effusive period (2018 LERZ, 2015–2018 Pu‘u‘ō‘ō, 2008–2018 lava lake and 2020 eruption in Halema‘uma‘u). Scandium concentrations in olivine allow characterizing changes in mantle source between 1500 and 2018, and suggest that the recent (2015–2018) magma feeding the Pu‘u‘ō‘ō cone did not significantly interact with the magma that erupted in the LERZ in 2018. The evolution of olivine and melt compositions over the past 500 years is not easily reconcilable with variations in mantle potential temperature, pressure of mantle melt pooling and storage, or oxygen fugacity. Instead, Sc, Mn, and Co concentrations and Ni/Mg ratio in high forsterite (Fo >87) olivine advocate for an increase in the proportion of clinopyroxene in the mantle source associated with a slightly higher degree of partial melting from 1500 to 2018. Changes in primitive melt compositions and degrees of mantle melting may well modulate magma supply to the crust and formation-replenishment of steady or ephemeral summit reservoirs, and thereby control transitions between explosive and effusive periods at Kīlauea. Analyzing trace elements in olivine at Kīlauea and elsewhere could therefore provide important clues on subtle changes occurring at the mantle level that might herald changes in volcanic behavior.

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Mourey, A. J., Shea, T., Lynn, K. J., Lerner, A. H., Lambart, S., Costa, F., … Gansecki, C. (2022). Trace elements in olivine fingerprint the source of 2018 magmas and shed light on explosive-effusive eruption cycles at Kīlauea Volcano. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 595.

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