Submarine sliver in North Kona: A window into the early magmatic and growth history of Hualalai Volcano, Hawaii Academic Article uri icon


  • Two manned submersible dives examined the Hualalai Northwest rift zone and an elongate ridge cresting at 3900 mbsl during a 2002 JAMSTEC cruise. The rift zone flank at dive site S690 (water depth 3412-2104 m) is draped by elongated and truncated pillow lavas. These olivine-rich tholeiitic lavas are compositionally indistinguishable from those examined further south along the bench, except that they span a wider range in dissolved sulfur content (200-1400 ppm). The elongate ridge investigated in dive S692, located at the base of the bench, is a package of distinct lithologic units containing volcaniclastic materials, glassy pillow breccias, and lava blocks; these units contain a range of compositions including tholeiitic basalt, transitional basalt, and hawaiite. The textures, compositions, and stratigraphic relationships of materials within the elongate ridge require that a variety of transport mechanisms juxtaposed materials from multiple eruptions into individual beds, compacted them into a coherent package of units, and brought the package to its present depth 10 km from the edge of the North Kona slump bench. Sulfur-rich hawaiite glasses at the base of the elongate ridge may represent the first extant representatives of juvenile alkalic volcanism at Hualalai. They are geochemically distinct from shield tholeiite and post-shield alkalic magmas, but may be related to transitional basalt by high-pressure crystal fractionation of clinopyroxene. Tholeiitic glasses that compose the majority of the exposed outcrop are similar to Mauna Kea tholeiites and other Hualalai tholeiites, but they differ from younger basalts in having greater incompatible element enrichments and higher CaO for a given MgO. These differences could arise from small extents of partial melting during the transition from alkalic to shield stage magmatism. Low sulfur contents of most of the volcaniclastic tholeiites point to early emergence of Hualalai above sea level relative to the development of the midslope slump bench. 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Hammer, J. E., Coombs, M. L., Shamberger, P. J., & Kimura, J.

citation count

  • 21

complete list of authors

  • Hammer, JE||Coombs, ML||Shamberger, PJ||Kimura, J

publication date

  • January 2006