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Giant Landslides Around Hawaiian Islands

Recent studies by USGS marine scientists have identified over fifteen giant landslides surrounding the Hawaiian Islands. The slides are among the largest known on Earth, and most have occurred with in the past four million years. The youngest is thought to have occurred only one hundred thousand years ago, and there is evidence today that large blocks of land on the island of Hawaii are beginning to slide, generating large earthquakes in the process. Each slide has resulted in huge land losses to the islands and resulted in large waves that have carried rocks and sediments as high as 1000 ft above sea level. The giant Hawaiian landslides are important to study because, although they occur infrequently, they have potential for enormous loss of life, property, and resources. Much of the existing topography in Hawaii, both on land and on the seafloor, owes its origin to these landslides, and as such they are crucial to understanding and evaluation of nearly all of the Hawaiian habitats and resources.

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maintained by Molly Gowen Groome
last modified June 10, 1998