Résumé : Recent Kilauea and Mauna Loa lavas provide a snapshot of the size, shape, and distribution of compositional heterogeneities within the Hawaiian mantle plume. Here we present a study of the Pb, Sr, and Nd isotope ratios of two suites of young prehistoric lavas from these volcanoes: (1) Kilauea summit lavas erupted from AD 900 to 1400, and (2) 14C-dated Mauna Loa flows erupted from ∼ 2580-140 yr before present (relative to AD 1950). These lavas display systematic isotopic fluctuations, and the Kilauea lavas span the Pb isotopic divide that was previously thought to exist between these two volcanoes. For a brief period from AD 250 to 1400, the 206Pb/204Pb and 87Sr/86Sr isotope ratios and εNd values of Kilauea and Mauna Loa lavas departed from values typical for each volcano (based on historical and other young prehistoric lavas), moved towards an intermediate composition, and subsequently returned to typical values. This is the only known period in the eruptive history of these volcanoes when such a simultaneous convergence of Pb, Sr, and Nd isotope ratios has occurred. The common isotopic composition of lavas erupted from both Kilauea and Mauna Loa during this transient magmatic event was probably caused by the rapid passage of a small-scale compositional heterogeneity through the melting regions of both volcanoes. This heterogeneity is thought to have been either a single body (∼ 35 km long based on the distance between the summits of these volcanoes) or the plume matrix itself (which would be expected to be present beneath both volcanoes). The time scale of this event (centuries) is much shorter than previously noted for variations in the isotopic composition of Hawaiian lavas due to the upwelling of heterogeneities within the plume (thousands to tens of thousands of years). Calculations based on the timing of the isotopic convergence suggest a maximum thickness for the melting region (and thus, the heterogeneity) of ∼ 5-10 km. The small size of the heterogeneity indicates that melt can be extracted from small regions within the Hawaiian plume with minimal subsequent chemical modification (beyond the effects of crystal fractionation). This would be most effective if melt transport in the mantle beneath Hawaiian shield volcanoes occurs mostly in chemically isolated channels. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.