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Sat Sep 7, 2019, 11:38 PM

How A Volcanic Eruption In Hawaii Triggered A Massive Algae Bloom

Sep 7, 2019, 09:18pm

Liz Allen

The algae 'superbloom' caused by the eruption of Hawaii's Mount Kilauea in 2018.US COAST GUARD

Last year’s eruption of Hawaii’s Mount Kilauea released over 4 billion cubic feet of lava onto the island and surrounding ocean. To put this in perspective, that’s enough lava to fill 45,400 Olympic-sized swimming pools - assuming the lava does not melt through the bottom of the pool, of course.

Just three days after the eruption began, massive blooms of phytoplankton, or tiny light-absorbing algae, were in full swing.

The reason Mount Kilauea’s hot lava triggered phytoplankton populations to boom was initially a mystery to scientists. Hawaii, like most tropical places, is surrounded by waters lacking in nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen. Given this, most tropical algae blooms are triggered when phosphorous and nitrate, a form of nitrogen, are added to the nutrient-deprived water. But this bloom was different.

Lava entering Hawaii's Kapoho Bay during the eruption of Mount Kilauea in June of 2018. USGS

“There was no reason for us to expect that an algae bloom like this would happen,” said Dr. Seth John, geologist at USC Dornsife and co-author on a new study of the algae bloom. “Lava doesn’t contain any nitrate.”


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Reply How A Volcanic Eruption In Hawaii Triggered A Massive Algae Bloom (Original post)
Judi Lynn Sep 7 OP
ManiacJoe Sep 8 #1

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sun Sep 8, 2019, 08:27 PM

1. upwelling may have then caused deep-sea nutrients

An interesting read.

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