New research has revealed that in addition to the well known forces of soil erosion, the Hawaiian Islands are experiencing significant erosion due to the groundwater under the islands working to dissolve the island from within. Specifically, the mountains on Oahu will eventually be completely leveled and end up as flat as Midway Island.
The effect that groundwater is having, dissolving the rock that makes up the Hawaiian Islands, is actually more significant than the forces of soil erosion.
“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.”
“All of the Hawaiian Islands are made of just one kind of rock,” Nelson said. “The weathering rates are variable, too, because rainfall is so variable, so it’s a great natural laboratory.”
The future of the islands is also going to be influenced significantly by plate tectonics. Oahu is currently being slowly pushed northwest, and as it is the mountains are being pushed upwards somewhat.
Read more at www.planetsave.com