Tags: robots | kilauea | lava | volcano | sea

Robots Studying Kilauea Lava as It Flows Into Sea

Robots Studying Kilauea Lava as It Flows Into Sea
A steam plume rises as lava enters the Pacific Ocean after flowing to the water from a Kilauea volcano fissure, on Hawaii's Big Island on May 20, 2018, near Pahoa, Hawaii. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 28 June 2018 06:16 PM

Robots are studying the Kilauea volcano lava flowing into the sea to test the eruption’s impact on marine life. 

Two robots called “Wave Gliders,” made by Liquid Robots, are shaped like surfboards and have several antennae, USA Today reported. They can withstand both hot lava and cold ocean waters as they collect data independently of each other.

"Wave Gliders can operate in hotter water than boats and there's no person on board," said CFO and founder of Liquid Robotics Roger Hine, USA Today reported. "As opposed to putting a scientist on a boat, where we're more concerned about their safety."

Scientists are eager to learn about lava and the ocean’s ecosystem but have been deterred by the acidic steam, or “laze,” that forms when lava hits ocean water.

The Wave Gliders can measure water temperatures, oxygen levels, pH levels, salinity, turbidity, conductivity, and underwater acoustics, Maui Now reported.

“The effect of this massive lava flow entering the ocean is dramatic and amazing, but at the same time somewhat mysterious,” Hine said, Maui Now reported. “Detailed measurements of the ocean plume and the ecosystems it impacts are now possible and safe to obtain with unmanned systems like our Wave Gliders. This is an opportunity of a lifetime to deploy our ocean robots to help advance science.”

Scientists are especially interested in how far the hot, sediment-filled water generated by the lava flows extends and how it may impact ecosystems and boaters in the area. The robots will be on site for about three weeks, The Next Web reported.

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Two robots are studying the Kilauea volcano lava flowing into the sea to test the eruption's impact on marine life.
robots, kilauea, lava, volcano, sea
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2018-16-28
Thursday, 28 June 2018 06:16 PM
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