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Photos: Hawaii's New Underwater Volcano

A rocky resting place

Ka'ena pillow lava

(Image credit: University of Hawaii at Manoa)

A newly-discovered volcano, named Ka'ena, erupted 5 million years ago in the deep waters south of Kauai. It was the first of three volcanoes that would form the island of Oahu. Researchers recently showed that Ka'ena was a separate volcano, distinct from its neighbor, Wai'anae volcano.

Former island

Ka'ena a'a lava

(Image credit: University of Hawaii at Manoa)

The blocky texture of these a'a lavas only forms in air, a clue that Ka'ena volcano once poked above the ocean surface 3 million years ago.

Friendly visitor

Ka'ena octupus

(Image credit: University of Hawaii at Manoa)

Researchers snapped images of local marine life while searching for signs of past eruptions.

Sampling rocks

Ka'ena volcano sampling

(Image credit: University of Hawaii at Manoa)

Rock samples collected with a remotely operated vehicle helped prove Ka'ena volcano is older and chemical distinct from its neighbors.

Where fire meets the sea

Ka'ena hyaloclastite

(Image credit: University of Hawaii at Manoa)

Sheets of hyaloclastite, a glassy lava that forms where molten rock meets the sea.

Becky Oskin
Becky Oskin
Becky Oskin covers Earth science, climate change and space, as well as general science topics. Becky was a science reporter at Live Science and The Pasadena Star-News; she has freelanced for New Scientist and the American Institute of Physics. She earned a master's degree in geology from Caltech, a bachelor's degree from Washington State University, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz.