A marine sampling program, utilizing the PISCES-5 submersible operated by the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory (NOAA), has confirmed the presence of a major submerged coral reef offshore from Ka Lae (South Point), Hawaii. The top of the reef is now 150-160 m below sea level. Radiocarbon and Useries dating indicates that it drowned about 13.9 ka by the combined effects of island subsidence (2.5 mm/year) and the rapid rise of sea level at the end of the last glaciation so that the relative submergence rate of more than 10 mm/year exceeded the upward growth rate of the reef. The submerged reef caps the offshore part of the southwest rift-zone ridge of Mauna Loa, which has apparently undergone little volcanic activity offshore since 170 ka, and possibly since 270 ka. This fact suggests that rift zone activity is becoming increasingly restricted toward the upper part of the volcano, a condition possibly heralding the end of the shield-building stage. ?? 1990 Springer-Verlag.
Additional publication details
Reef growth and volcanism on the submarine southwest rift zone of Mauna Loa, Hawaii