Photo: Brigham Young University
The volcanic peaks of Oahu in the Hawaiian island chain are dissolving from the inside, and will one day become flat, new research from Brigham Young University shows.
Although soil erosion is typically associated with flattening mountains, geologists found that Oahu’s Koolauand and Waianae mountains are dissolving within because of groundwater that washes sediment away.
The study was recently published in the journal Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta.
The good news is that the dramatic change won’t take place for another 1.5 million years. Until then, because of plate tectonics, the island will be pushed northwest and slowly but steadily rise in elevation, according to a statement from the university.
This growth will negate the influence of weathering, but “the force of groundwater will eventually triumph and the island will begin its descent to a low-lying topography,” according to Brigham researchers.
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