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Watching the next Hawaiian island.

Watching the next Hawaiian island

Like a baby baboon riding on its mother's back, Loihi seamount is a mere infant perched on the flank of Hawaii's "Big Island." But this young underwater volcano is still growing and may top the ocean waves in 50,000 years. To study Loihi's behavior, geophysicists plan in the next two years to set up an unmanned observatory at the volcano's summit, located about 35 kilometers southeast of Hawaii's shore beneath some 1,000 meters of water.

AT&T has donated 40 kilometers of electro-optical cable for connecting an onshore station with the observatory. The cable will transmit electricla power down to the observatory and carry back real-time information from the instruments.

Fred K. Duennebier and Alexander Malahoff of the University of Hawaii in Honolulu say Loihi represents an ideal spot for a seafloor observatory. It's the only known example of an active underwater volcano in U.S. territorial waters, and the seamount sits relatively close to land. The researchers plan to install seismometers, thermal sensors, chemical detectors, video cameras and even a small rover to monitor the seamount's volcanic activities.
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Title Annotation:Loihi seamount
Author:Monastersky, Richard
Publication:Science News
Date:Dec 22, 1990
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