Mauna Loa and Kilauea share more than the same hot spot, a new study has concluded. They also draw from the same magma source in the upper mantle.
The study, which appears in the November issue of the Nature Geoscience journal, helps explain their behavior, including why both have inflated at the same time, scientists say.
“We know both volcanoes are fed by the same hot spot, and over the past decade we’ve observed simultaneous inflation, which we interpret to be the consequence of increased pressure of the magma source that feeds them,” said lead author Helge Gonnermann, in a press release.
Subtle chemical differences in the lava at each volcano indicates they have their own separate plumbing systems that draw from different parts of the source, 50 miles underground, he said.
Kilauea has erupted 48 times since the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory began in 1912. Its flank eruption has been nearly continuously since 1983.
Mauna Loa has erupted 12 times since in the last 100 years, the most recent in 1984.
The study was conducted by Rice University, University of Hawaii, U.S. Geological Survey, and the Carnegie Institution of Washington.