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Underwater Volcanoes

Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Ocean Worlds

Kamaʻehuakanaloa (formerly Lōʻihi Seamount) is an underwater volcano located around 35 km (or 22 mi) off the southeast coast of Hawai’i Island, on the flank of Mauna Loa. The seamount shares several characteristics with other ocean worlds because of its intra-plate volcanic activity, which makes it a great site to explore. Studying this region will give scientists a better sense of what to expect on other ocean worlds that have hydrothermal vents, such as Saturn’s moon, Enceladus. On the NASA SUBSEA expedition, we visited several active hydrothermal sites to collect fluid and rock samples to learn more about the microbiology and geochemistry of this region. We were excited to discover diverse morphologies formed by microorganisms and basalt rocks. This album highlights some of the interesting seafloor characteristics we investigated around Kamaʻehuakanaloa!

Album contributed by Science Communication Fellow Mugdha Flores and Lead Science Communication Fellow Jenny Woodman.

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