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Volcanism in Hawaii, Chapter One: The Hawaiian-Emporer Volcanic Chain, Part 1, Geologic Evolution

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Title: Volcanism in Hawaii, Chapter One: The Hawaiian-Emporer Volcanic Chain, Part 1, Geologic Evolution
Authors: Clague, David A.
Dalrymple, G. Brent
Keywords: geology
Issue Date: 1987
Publisher: Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
Citation: Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. 1987. Volcanism in Hawaii, Chapter One: The Hawaiian-Emporer Volcanic Chain, Part 1, Geologic Evolution. Hawaii: Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.
Abstract: Chapter One (1) from Volcanism in Hawaii. The Hawaiian-Emperor volcanic chain stretches nearly 6,000 km across the North Pacific Ocean and consists of at least t 07 individual volcanoes with a total volume of about 1 million km3. The chain is age progressive with still-active volcanoes at the southeast end and 80-75-Ma volcanoes at the northwest end. The bend between the Hawaiian and .Emperor Chains reflects a major change in Pacific plate motion at 43.1 ± 1.4 Ma and probably was caused by collision of the Indian subcontinent into Eurasia and the resulting reorganization of oceanic spreading centers and initiation of subduction zones in the western Pacific. The volcanoes of the chain were erupted onto the floor of the Pacific Ocean without regard for the age or preexisting structure of the ocean crust. Hawaiian volcanoes erupt lava of distinct chemical compositions during four major stages in their evolution and growth. The earliest stage is a submarine alkalic preahield stage, which is followed by the tholeiitic shield stage. The shield stage probably accounts for >95 percent of the volume of each volcano. The shield stage is followed by an alkalic postshield stage during which a thin cap of alkalic basalt and associated differentiated lava covers the tholeiitic shield. After several million years of erosion, alkalic rejuvenated-stage lava erupts from isolated vents. An individual volcano may become extinct before the sequence is complete. The alkalic preshield stage is only known from recent study of Loihi Seamount. Lava from later eruptive stages has been identified from numerous submerged volcanoes located west of the principal Hawaiian Islands. Volcanic propagation rates along the chain are 9.2 ± 0.3 cm/yr for the Hawaiian Chain and 7.2 ± 1.1 cm/yr for the Emperor Chain. A best fit through all the age data for both chains gives 8.6±0.2 em/yr. Alkalic rejuvenated-stage lava erupts on an older shield during the formation of a new large shield volcano 190±30 km to the east. The duration of the quiescent period preceding eruption of rejuvenated-stage lava decreases systematically from 2.5 m.y. on Niihau to <0.4 m.y. at Haleakala, reflecting an increase in the rate of volcanic propagation during the last few million years. Rejuvenated-stage lava is generated during the rapid change from subsidence to uplift as the volcanoes override a flexural arch created by loading the new shield volcano on the ocean lithosphere. Paleomagnetic data indicate that the Hawaiian hot spot has remained fixed during the last 40 m.y., but prior to that time the hot spot was apparently located at a more northerly latitude. The most reliable data suggest about 70 of southward movement of the hot spot between 65 and 40 Ma. The numerous hypotheses to explain the mechanism of the hot spot fall into four types: propagating fracture hypotheses, thermal or chemical convection hypotheses, shear melting hypotheses, and heat injection hypotheses. A successful hypothesis must explain the propagation of volcanism along the chain, the near-fixity of the hot spot, the chemistry and timing of the eruptions from individual volcanoes, and the detailed geometry of volcanism. None of the geophysical hypotheses proposed to date are fully satisfactory. However, the existence of the Hawaiian ewell suggests that hot spots are indeed hot. In addition, both geophysical and geochemical hypotheses suggest that primitive undegassed mantle material ascends beneath Hawaii. Petrologic models suggest that this primitive material reacts with the ocean lithosphere to produce the compositional range of Hawaiian lava.
Pages/Duration: 48 pages
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