Massive algae bloom spurred by lava from Kilauea eruption

  • Monday 16, September 2019 06:24 PM
Sharjah24 – Reuters: New research has found that the Kilauea eruption last year caused an influx of lava into the North Pacific Ocean which in turn triggered a large algae bloom.
Satellite images from NASA showed the water surrounding the Kilauea volcano starting to turn green soon after the volcanic eruption.

Scientists collected water samples of the green algal bloom and found that it contained higher levels of nitrate, silicic acid, iron and phosphate, according to a news release from the University of Southern California.

One of the researchers involved with the study explained that they did not expect an algae bloom as lava does not contain any nitrate.

Nitrogen, which contains nitrate, is believed to have come up from the depths of the ocean as lava sank into deeper water, according to the study published in the journal Science.

As the lava began heating up the deeper waters, the nutrients in the water also warmed up, becoming really buoyant and floating up to the surface, which then helped spur algal growth.

According to Hawaii Tribune-Herald, green algae is important as fish and other marine creatures in the sea are dependent on it for nutrients.

The authors of the study suggested that it is possible this mechanism has led to similar ocean fertilisation events in the past associated with the formation of the Hawaiian Islands and other major volcanic eruptions.