New research! Geochemical analysis of Kaua’i reveals changes in the composition of the Hawaiian mantle plume

October 20, 2023

This week The Pacific Center for Isotopic and Geochemical Research (PCIGR) has a new article out in the American Geophysical Union journal, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems. The article, authored by Nicole Williamson, Dominique Weis, James Scoates, and Michael Garcia, is the culmination of years of extensive sampling and careful geochemical analyses of volcanic rocks from Kaua’i.


The Hawaiian islands were formed by the movement of the Pacific Plate over the Hawaiian Mantle plume, creating a series of volcanic islands. The recent work by the PCIGR reveals that the island of Kaua’i formed during a transitional period as the geochemical composition of the Hawaiian mantle plume evolved. The analysis of this new geochemical dataset demonstrates that older volcanic rocks in western Kaua‘i have a different geochemical signature than younger rocks in eastern Kaua‘i. Importantly, this work has tracked and quantified an important geochemical reference point, the Average Loa (‘ALOA'), in the Hawaiian mantle source. This study provides an example of how volcanic rocks at the surface of such oceanic islands can provide information on the spatial and temporal changes in deep mantle geochemistry.


To read the original article, "Emergence of the Loa Mantle Component in the Hawaiian Islands Based on the Geochemistry of Kaua’i Shield-Stage Basalts”, click here. All elemental and isotopic data compiled from Hawaiian volcanoes used in this work and renormalized to the same laboratory standards are available in a publicly accessible database.