Petrology and Geochronology of Kaula Volcano lavas: An off-axis window into the Hawaiian Mantle Plume
Thursday, 18 December 2014: 5:15 PM
The Hawaiian Islands extend NW for 625 km from Lō‘ihi to Ka‘ula island. One anomalous feature cross-cutting the Hawaiian Islands is the Kaua‘i Ridge, a 165 km-long bathymetric high with three well-defined gravity highs. These gravity highs are centered under or near the islands of Ka‘ula, Ni‘ihau and Kaua‘i, and represent the cores of three shield volcanoes whose volumes decrease dramatically with distance from the axis of the Hawaiian Chain (Kaua‘i, 58 x 103
, Ni‘ihau x 103
km, Ka‘ula 10 x 103
km; Robinson and Eakins 2006). Ka‘ula Volcano, on the SW end of the Kaua‘i Ridge, is centered 100 km off the axis of the Hawaiian mantle plume. The volcano is capped by a small island, which is a remnant of a nephelinitic tuff cone. The cone contains abundant accidental bombs of lava (tholeiite, phonolite and basanite), peridotite and pyroxenite, and unexploded ordnance from US military bombing. Two JASON dives on the flanks of Ka‘ula recovered only alkalic lavas. Three stage of Ka‘ula volcanism have been identified from sampling the volcanic bombs and flanks of the volcano. These rocks were dated using 40
Ar methods for the basalts and K-Ar for the phonolites. A tholeiitic shield basalt yielded an age of 6.2 Ma, the oldest reliable age for any Hawaiian Island tholeiite. Post-shield phonolites gave ages of 4.0 to 4.2 Ma (Garcia et al., 1986) and rejuvenation stage alkalic basalts yielded ages of 1.9 to 0.5 Ma. These ages are nearly identical to those for the same stages for adjacent Ni‘ihau volcano but slightly older than on Kauai, 100 km to the NE (Sherrod et al. 2007). Thus, volcanism was nearly simultaneous along Kaua‘i Ridge. The new age results extend to 420 km the distance within the Hawaiian Islands that experienced coeval rejuvenated volcanism. Geochemically, the rejuvenated and tholeiitic lavas from the Kaua‘i Ridge are very similar with mixed source signatures of Loa and Kea trend compositions. Mixed Loa-Kea sources have been found for many other Hawaiian volcanoes. These results indicate that the Hawaiian mantle plume was broadly homogeneous over 100 km distance but also heterogeneous on a fine scale.
Garcia et al., 1986. Contr. Mineral. Petrol. 94, 461-471; Robinson and Eakins, 2006. J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res. 151, 309–317; Sherrod et al., 2007. USGS Open-File Rept. 2007–1089.