Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Hawaii Volcanoes

Author: Gayle Olson

The Island of Hawaii is made up of five volcanoes. Each began to grow beneath the sea and eventually joined to form a single island. The volcanoes grew from a hotspot beneath the sea. The chain of volcanoes were created as the Pacific Plate moved northwestward over the hotspot. Kohala was the first to emerge from the sea followed by Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, Kilauea, and Loihi. Activity has ceased at Kohala and now the most activity has been occurring at Kilauea and Loihi.

Loihi is still beneath sea level about 20 miles off the southeast flank of the island. A scientific team has installed underwater cable to Loihi. On October 12, 1997, the cable was laid and scientists discovered that Loihi was in full eruption. The communication cable provides a direct connection to Loihi. In the past, instrument experiments had to be dropped off at the seamount and later physically picked up by a submersible research vessel to recover the data.

What sort of results have scientists received from the communication cable? An underwater microphone called a hydrophone is sending back sounds of popping, booming and crashing. This may be the first real-time monitoring of an undersea eruption. Once the cable was installed and tested, scientists linked up the communication system to carry data first to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and then to Oahu where it is available for researchers.

Entire article and related Internet respources: oes.html

About the author: Author and Internet Content Developer since 1995.


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