Loihi is Hawaii’s youngest submarine volcano- a volcano located completely under water. It is located 30 km southeast off the coast of the big island of Hawaii. It is classified as an active volcano because of recent earthquakes. Its summit is 3,178 feet below sea level. It has a large caldera with three craters, and the newest one, called Pele’s Pit, is 300 meters deep! There are two rift zones near the volcano, one north of it and on to the southeast. Loihi is part of the Hawaiian/Emperor volcanic chain, on the flank of Mauna Loa. If it keeps growing at the same rate as Mauna Loa and Kilauea, it may become an island east or south of the Big Island soon. The Hawaiian Islands are located on the Pacific plate. They are in a region known as a “hot spot”. It is where a large plume of mantle rises through the crust. On the seafloor, the magma cools to form a seamount. Eventually it grows tall and becomes an island. The Hawaiian Islands were formed in this way. Loihi is growing pretty fast. In the next few thousand years, it may become an island. But where? The Pacific plate is moving northwest. Loihi is located southeast of the other islands. So it would become an island to the south and east of the other islands. The mega plume is stationary, so it isn’t going to move to a different position. The volcano will keep growing where it is. Loihi is moving northwest with the rest of the islands, but it will stay to the south and east.
Loihi is a growing seamount off the Big Island of Hawaii. It was thought to be dormant until earthquake swarms were recorded, making it active. Its summit at 3,178 feet has three craters. Loihi is the youngest of the Hawaiian volcanic chain. Pillow lava shows that it is growing relatively fast to the southeast of the other islands. If it becomes the newest island of Hawaii, where will it be located? Loihi will be to the south and east of Hawaii because the mantle plume isn’t moving direction and it will stay there. It will just become another tropical island to the Hawaiian chain, which has happened many times before.