Abstract

The GLORIA long-range sonar imaging system has revealed fields of large lava flows in the Hawaiian Trough east and south of Hawaii in water as deep as 5.5 km. Flows in the most extensive field (110 km long) have erupted from the deep submarine segment of Kilauea's east rift zone. Other flows have been erupted from Loihi and Mauna Loa. This discovery confirms a suspicion, long held from subaerial studies, that voluminous submarine flows are erupted from Hawaiian volcanoes, and it supports an inference that summit calderas repeatedly collapse and fill at intervals of centuries to millenia owing to voluminous eruptions. These extensive flows differ greatly in form from pillow lavas found previously along shallower segments of the rift zones; therefore, revision of concepts of volcano stratigraphy and structure may be required.

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