Researchers rapidly respond to submarine activity at Loihi Volcano, Hawaii


The largest swarm of earthquakes ever observed at a Hawaiian volcano occurred at Loihi Seamount during July and early August 1996. The earthquake activity formed a large summit pit crater similar to those observed at Kilauea, and hydrothermal activity led to the formation of intense hydrothermal plumes in the ocean surrounding the summit.

To investigate this event, the Rapid Response Cruise (RRC) was dispatched to Loihi in early August and two previously planned LONO cruises (named for a Hawaiian warrior god) sailed in September and October on the R/V Kaimikai-O-Kanaloa. Calm weather and a newly refurbished ship provided excellent opportunities for documenting the volcanic, hydrothermal plume, vent, and biological activities associated with the earthquake swarm.