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Hawaii is dissolving from the inside out, study shows


A new study has found that Hawaii may be becoming flatter due to internal erosion say geologists at Brigham Young University.


Robyn Beck

New research shows that Hawaii is actually dissolving from within and the mountainous island may be flat some day.

Geologists at Brigham Young University claim that the mountains are slowing being carried away by the groundwater and being pushed out to sea.

The study used estimates from the US Geological Survey and found that two mountains on the island of Oahu were dissolving from within due to groundwater.

Koolauand and Waianae mountains are disappearing as the groundwater is washing the sediment away, reported PTI.

This is opposed to more typical methods of erosion washing away mountains from the exterior and washing them out to sea via overland streams.

Researchers said that they will eventually become totally flat, though that might be more than one million years away.

They say that despite the internal erosion, islands like Oahu continue to grow.

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Plate tectonics is still pushing them upward but before long erosion and internal dissolving will flatten the island like Pacific neighbor Midway, an atoll northwest of the Hawaiian archipelago.

“I don’t think that groundwater will win out faster,” lead author and geologist Steve Nelson said, according to the Science Recorder.

“The wet parts of the island are getting flushed pretty rapidly as it is. It’s good to remember that an atoll like Midway has had 20 plus million years to erode to sea level. Oahu is about 1/10th that age.”

The study was published in the journal Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta.