Wednesday, July 21, 2010

On the Hawaiian swell

Our cruise started from Honolulu, Hawaii, and as it happens, we're sailing along the Hawaiian seamount chain, which is perhaps the most famous hotspot track and has played a very important role in the theory of plate tectonics. You may see in the bathymetric image that seafloor around this seamount chain is a little bit shallow (i.e., blue is lighter), and this topographic feature is known as the Hawaiian swell. The seafloor of this swell is ~500 m shallower than it should be given its age (~80-120 million years old), and the cause of this shallowing is still debated.

At any rate, we'll keep sailing with this heading for five more days or so until we arrive at the Shatsky Rise, our main survey area.

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