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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 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.