International Federation of Digital Seismograph Networks

Z6 (2018-2018): OBS survey of Kilauea's submarine south flank following the May 4, 2018 M6.9 earthquake and Lower East Rift Zone eruption

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FDSN code Z6 (2018-2018) Network name OBS survey of Kilauea's submarine south flank following the May 4, 2018 M6.9 earthquake and Lower East Rift Zone eruption (Kilauea RAPID)
Start year 2018 Operated by
  • Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO)
End year 2018 Deployment region

In April 2018, a dramatic shift took place in the ongoing eruption of Kilauea volcano: both the summit lava lake and the vent at Pu`u O`o, active for 35 years, catastrophically drained, sending magma to the Lower East Rift Zone where it began to erupt, and eventually to flow into the ocean. This shift in activity was accompanied by a dramatic increase in seismicity within the rift zone, at the summit, and beneath the volcano’s submarine south flank. On May 4, a M6.9 earthquake occurred beneath Kilauea’s south flank, and since that time thousands of aftershocks have been recorded. The main aftershock area and preliminary seismic and GPS inversions indicate a shallow-dipping co-seismic thrust beneath the south flank. The rupture likely occurred along either the decollement at the base of the volcano or a major low- angle thrust fault that cuts the south flank and intersects the decollement near the coastline. Seismicity following the M6.9 includes closely located aftershocks, but also events that scattered broadly across the south flank, with significant clusters near some key structures interpreted to bound the active Hilina slump. These events, the changing eruption, the south flank rupture and complex aftershock distribution, and the links among them, motivate this study.

The proposed OBS network was designed to (a) improve locations of aftershocks of the M6.9, (b) capture waves trapped within the decollement, (c) constrain the hypocenters of earthquakes occurring on the boundary of the south flank, (d) record seismicity and acoustic signals generated by the ocean entry, and (e) provide constraint on earthquakes associated with the eruption, particularly any events occurring at depth (which require more distant stations).

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