Luʻuaeaahikiikekualonokai - Into the Unknown of Chautauqua Seamounts
Less than 150 miles west of Hawai’i sits a chain of seamounts completely unsurveyed by ROVs or high-resolution mapping! For 12 days in December, the Nautilus team invites you to join expedition Luʻuaeaahikiikekualonokai to explore the Chautauqua seamounts - a chain of seven undersea mountains to collect geologic samples to identify the history and learn about the diverse biological communities who make their homes on these slopes. Join Expedition Leader Allison Fundis and Lead Scientist Dr. Adam Soule live from E/V Nautilus in the Central Pacific for this interactive Q&A event to discuss the mission and experience of conducting first-of-its-kind exploration in this area.
The expedition name -- Luʻuaeaahikiikekualonokai -- represents the journey to and the work in the kualono kai, or the sea ridges in the Chautauqua seamounts. Located south of the Hawaiian Islands, the seamounts may hold key information to deepen our understanding of Hawaiʻiʻs volcanic history. Moreover, like a kualono, or ridge that offers protection to those within its domain, the Chautauqua seamounts offer important marine habitats that protect various ocean organisms. As we go to sea in this region, we gratefully acknowledge generations of indigenous Hawaiians and today’s stewards of these lands and waters.
Located south of the Hawaiian Islands, Chautauqua Seamount and the un-named seamount chain comprises seven seamounts measuring between 15 and 25 kilometers across and rising more than 2 kilometers from the 4-kilometer deep abyssal seafloor. Aside from sparse bathymetric and geophysical surveys, these underwater mountains are unsurveyed by ROVs or high-resolution seafloor mapping.