Offshore submarine freshwater discovery raises wish for islands around the world

Two times as much freshwater is kept offshore of Hawai’i Island than was formerly believed, according to a University of Hawai’i research study with crucial ramifications for volcanic islands all over the world. A substantial tank of freshwater within the submarine southern flank of the Hualālai aquifer has actually been mapped by UH scientists with the Hawai’i EPSCoR ‘Ike Wai job. The innovative findings, released in Science Advances, expose an unique method which considerable volumes of freshwater are carried from onshore to overseas submarine aquifers along the coast of Hawai’i Island.

This system might offer alternative eco-friendly resources of freshwater to volcanic islands worldwide. “Their proof for different freshwater lenses, stacked one above the other, near the Kona coast of Hawai’i, exceptionally enhances the potential customers for sustainable advancement on volcanic islands,” stated UH Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Innovation (SOEST) Dean Brian Taylor.

Paradigm shift


Through making use of marine controlled-source electro-magnetic imaging, the research study exposed the onshore-to-offshore motion of freshwater through a multilayer development of basalts ingrained in between layers of ash and soil, diverging from previous groundwater designs of this location. Performed as a part of the National Science Foundation-supported ‘Ike Wai job, research study affiliate professors Eric Attias led the marine geophysics project.

” Our findings offer a paradigm shift from the traditional hydrologic conceptual designs that have actually been significantly utilized by numerous research studies and water companies in Hawai’i and other volcanic islands to determine sustainable yields and aquifer storage for the previous thirty years,” stated Attias. “We hope that our discovery will improve future hydrologic designs, and subsequently, the schedule of tidy freshwater in volcanic islands.”

Co-author Steven Constable, a teacher of geophysics at the Scripps Organization of Oceanography, who established the regulated source electro-magnetic system utilized in the job, stated, “I have actually invested my whole profession establishing marine electro-magnetic techniques such as the one utilized here. It is actually pleasing to see the devices being utilized for such an impactful and crucial application. Electrical techniques have actually long been utilized to study groundwater on land, therefore it makes good sense to extend the application offshore.”

Kerry Secret, an associate teacher at Columbia University who uses electro-magnetic techniques to image numerous oceanic Earth structures, who not associated with this research study, stated, “This brand-new electro-magnetic method is a video game altering tool for affordable reconnaissance studies to determine areas consisting of freshwater aquifers, prior to more costly drilling efforts to straight sample the pore waters. It can likewise be utilized to map the lateral level of any aquifers currently recognized in separated boreholes.”

Two-times more water


Donald Thomas, a geochemist with the Hawai’i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology in SOEST who likewise dealt with the research study, stated the findings verify two-times the existence of much bigger amounts of kept groundwater than formerly believed.

” Comprehending this brand-new system for groundwater … is necessary to much better handle groundwater resources in Hawai’i,” stated Thomas, who leads the Humu?ula Groundwater Research study job, which discovered another big freshwater supply on Hawai’i Island a number of years earlier.

Offshore freshwater systems comparable to those flanking the Hualālai aquifer are recommended to be present for the island of O’ahu, where the electro-magnetic imaging method has actually not yet been used, however, if shown, might offer a general brand-new principle to handle freshwater resources.

The research study proposes that this recently found transportation system might be the governing system in other volcanic islands. With overseas tanks thought about more resistant to environment change-driven dry spells, volcanic islands worldwide can possibly think about these resources in their water management techniques.


This job is supported by the National Science Structure EPSCoR Program Award OIA # 1557349.


BROLL (2:30) (credit: University of Hawai’i): .

10 Video of the implementation of the CSEM system off of Hawai’i Island.

Close-up pan of the surface-towed marine controlled-source electro-magnetic (CSEM) system called Cetacean.

Picture of resistivity designs

Picture of brand-new conceptual design, revealing layers of freshwater in between layers of basalt

5 Video of Eric Attias, University of Hawai’i research study affiliate professors, at Wailupe Beach Park on O’ahu and freshwater bubbling up at the coastline


Eric Attias, University of Hawai’i research study affiliate professors (:13)

” The primary outcome of that discovery is that we discovered deep submarine tanks of fresh water. They are embedded in layers underneath the surface area of the sea flooring.”

Attias (:22)

” So, with this discovery, that indicates that these islands can do the exact same what we carried out here in the Big Island and can find the abundance of freshwater within extremely close distance to their islands which actually will enhance their water budget plan.”

Attias (:24)

” We utilized electro-magnetic imaging, which resembles an MRI of the brain. We generally predict an electro-magnetic wave that goes through the subsurface and after that tapes the returning signal in regards to amplitude and stage and after that we see how the field is altering.”

Link to still photos/images and captions (credit: University of Hawai’i):

1. Eric Attias ecological portrait.jpg .
Caption: University of Hawai’i Research Study Affiliate Professors Eric Attias at Wailupe Beach Park on O’ahu.

2. Eric Attias releasing CSEM System.jpg .
Caption: Eric Attias (middle) releasing the surface-towed marine controlled-source electro-magnetic (CSEM) system off of Hawai’i Island.

3. Surface area -hauled CSEM off Hawai’i Island.jpeg .
Caption: The surface-towed marine controlled-source electro-magnetic (CSEM) system in the ocean off of Hawai’i Island.

4. Cetacean system graphic.jpg .
Caption: illustration of the surface-towed marine controlled-source electro-magnetic (CSEM) system called Cetacean.

5. New Conceptual Design graphic.jpg .
Caption: Illustration revealing a multilayer conceptual design of the transportation system of fresh groundwater from onshore to offshore in Hawai’i. .

Link to video and noise (information listed below):

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