HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
Crews from the research vessel, including a team from UH Manoa, have returned from Hawaii’s ‘next island’, the Loihi seamount.
With them comes a plethora of new information.
"We have expanded five-fold our knowledge of the base of Loihi, and we've found new sites to go back and visit" said Dr. Brian Glazer of UH Manoa.
That figure is even more impressive given how little is known about the ocean’s floor.
"It's amazing. We've only mapped only 5-10 percent of our sea floor. We have a much better knowledge of the surface of the moon and Mars than our own ocean's sea floor" said Dr. Glazer.
The work was done by an autonomous underwater vehicle, which has increased the reach of underwater exploration.
"It just keeps marching back and forth across the sea floor, and it compiles this big database, where previously our understanding was maybe a bit anecdotal" said Dr. Dana Yoerger of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
Representatives from UH Manoa included researchers, graduate and undergraduate students.
"Seeing them being able to develop their own research skills and experiments where they may not otherwise get the opportunity to do so is really gratifying, and to see them engage with the crew, senior staff, senior faculty is fantastic" said Carlie Wiener of the Schmidt Ocean Institute.
Dr. Yoerger explained the importance of the research.
"There's all these implications that these tiny changes that are often hard to measure make a huge difference in the big scale of how the ocean works".
The Falkor will head next to dry dock for routine maintenance, before heading to the Marianas sea trench in September.