Earthquake swarm heats up Loihi


  • Michael Carlowicz


If Fred Dunnebier and his colleagues had completed their work when they wanted to, they'd be out of business by now.

Dunnebier and his colleagues at the University of Hawaii had planned to have their Hawaii Undersea Geo-Observatory (HUGO) set atop the flattened summit of the Loihi seamount, near Pele's Vents, in February. The automated underwater volcano observatory—now funded by a $900,000 grant from the National Science Foundation and aided by the donation from AT&T of time on a cable-laying ship and of fiber optic cable—was designed for the study of midplate volcanism and hydrothermal venting at the only active, midplate seamount volcano readily accessible from the United States. HUGO includes seismometers, tilt meters, bottom pressure sensors, cameras, and thermal and chemical sensors that would deliver real-time observations via the cable to researchers 45 km away at the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory on Kilauea.