In the summer of 1996, a swarm of 4,070earthquakes was recorded at Lōʻihi. This series included more earthquakes than any other swarm in Hawaiian recorded history. The swarm altered 10 to 13 square kilometres (4 to 5 sq mi) of the seamount's summit; one section, Pele's Vents, collapsed entirely upon itself and formed the renamed Pele's Pit. The volcano has remained relatively active since the 1996 swarm and is monitored by theNational Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The Hawaii Undersea Geological Observatory (HUGO) provided real-time data on Lōʻihi between 1997 and 2002. Lōʻihi last erupted in 1996, before the earthquake swarm of that summer.
Lōʻihi began forming around 400,000 years ago and is expected to begin emerging above sea level about 10,000–100,000 years from now. At its summit, Lōʻihi Seamount stands more than 3,000 m (10,000 ft) above the seafloor, making it taller than Mount St. Helens was before its catastrophic 1980 eruption. The summit is currently 975 m (3,000 ft) below sea level. A diverse microbial community resides around Lōʻihi's manyhydrothermal vents.
Lōʻihi Seamount is an active submarine volcano located around 35 km (22 mi) off the southeast coast of the island of Hawaiʻiabout 975 m (3,000 ft) below sea level. This seamount lies on the flank of Mauna Loa, the largest shield volcano on Earth. Lōʻihi meaning "long" in Hawaiian, is the newest volcano in the Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain, a string of volcanoes that stretches over 5,800 km (3,600 mi) northwest of Lōʻihi and the island of Hawaiʻi. Unlike most active volcanoes in the Pacific Ocean that make up the active plate margins on the Pacific Ring of Fire, Lōʻihi and the other volcanoes of the Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain arehotspot volcanoes and formed well away from the nearest plate boundary. Volcanoes in the Hawaiian Islands arise from the Hawaiʻi hotspot, and as the youngest volcano in the chain, Lōʻihi is the only Hawaiian volcano in the deep submarine preshield stage of development.
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