Marine seismology reveals Hawaiian volcano’s past, sheds light on future dangers
The Hawaiian Islands are home to the largest documented shoreline collapse in history, an ancient seaward landslide that sent rocks from the island of Oahu to sites more than 100 miles offshore. The avalanche of debris from the northeast shore of Oahu probably occurred between 1.5 and 3 million years ago, and it undoubtedly created one of the largest tsunamis in Earths history, a wave large enough to inundate every coastline of the northern Pacific Ocean.
Today, geologists are studying whether seismic and tectonic forces are creating the potential for a similar disaster on the southeast shore of the big island of Hawaii, near Kilauea volcano. The worlds most active volcano, Kilauea is continually growing larger. At the same time, its seaward flank is moving toward the Pacific, currently at the rate of about 10 centimeters per year. Kilaueas movement takes several forms. Layers of lava and sediment atop the mountain are pulled down by the force of gravity. The entire mountain itself also moves slowly out to sea as magma derived from deep within the earths mantle intrudes into the core of the volcano.
Jade Boyd | EurekAlert!
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