The Hawaiian Islands in the North Pacific are dissolving from within and at some point in the future they might fall off the map completely, geologists claim.

Researchers discovered that the mountains found on Oahu (Koolau and Waianae), Hawaii’s third largest island, are being eroded from within by groundwater. Thus, they are quite likely to shrink as the years go by, and ultimately turn into plains.

However, erosion isn’t the biggest culprit. Instead, scientists say, the mountains of Oahu are actually dissolving from within.

The Hawaiian Islands in the North Pacific are dissolving from within and at some point in the future they might fall off the map completely, geologists claim.

“We tried to figure out how fast the island is going away and what the influence of climate is on that rate,” said Brigham Young University geologist Steve Nelson.

“More material is dissolving from those islands than what is being carried off through erosion,” he said.

The research pitted groundwater against stream water to see which removed more mineral material. Nelson and colleagues spent two months sampling both types of sources.

Estimates from the US Geological Survey helped them calculate the total quantity of mass that disappeared from the island each year.

(This article was published on December 23, 2012)
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