Using microgravity data collected at Kīlauea Volcano, Hawai‘i (United States), between November 1975 and January 2008, we document significant mass increase beneath the east margin of Halema‘uma‘u Crater, within Kīlauea's summit caldera. Surprisingly, there was no sustained uplift accompanying the mass accumulation. We propose that the positive gravity residual in the absence of significant uplift is indicative of magma accumulation in void space (probably a network of interconnected cracks), which may have been created when magma withdrew from the summit in response to the 29 November 1975 M = 7.2 south flank earthquake. Subsequent refilling documented by gravity represents a gradual recovery from that earthquake. A new eruptive vent opened at the summit of Kīlauea in 2008 within a few hundred meters of the positive gravity residual maximum, probably tapping the reservoir that had been accumulating magma since the 1975 earthquake.
- Received 22 April 2010.
- Revision received 11 July 2010.
- Accepted 23 July 2010.
- © 2010 Geological Society of America