Monitoring the Mauna Ulu Eruption (Grades 9-12)

From 1969 to 1974, Kilauea Volcano erupted on the upper east rift zone, constructing the Mauna Ulu vent. The eruption was monitored by several methods, and some of the data are presented graphically in this activity.

Click here for the graph for activity 11.

Click here for the handout for activity 11.

Students are required to interpret the graph to answer the following questions.

  1. Is there a correlation between tilt and eruptions?
    Yes. Each eruption is marked by rapid subsidence of the summit.

  2. Based on tilt, what happens at the summit before eruptions?
    The summit of the volcano gradually inflates between eruptions.

  3. Does the summit inflate to the same tilt angle prior to each eruption?
    No. For example, contrast episode 15 and 17.

  4. Does the number of shallow summit earthquakes correlate with tilt and/or the eruptive episodes?
    Yes. During the eruptive episodes, the number of shallow summit earthquakes is low. As the summit inflates after each eruption, the number of short-period caldera earthquakes gradually increases.

  5. Based on the data presented in the graphs, outline the geologic events leading up to, during, and after an eruptive episode.

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