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The Melting Ice Caves of Mauna Loa

Norbert Schörghofer via
Norbert Schörghofer via

Researchers with the University of Hawai‘i are studying the potential impact of climate change on melting ice on Mauna Loa.

In the 1970’s researchers documented two frozen lava tubes perched more than eleven-thousand feet above sea level.  Scientists say the lava tubes could be between 750 and 1,500 years old - and the ice inside may contain clues to Hawai‘i’s past environmental conditions.

But researchers say the ice in these caves are melting- and the window for discovery is quickly closing.  In the time since their discovery the 1.5 feet thick layer of ice inside the ‘Skating Rink” area has almost completely melted.  Researchers also found the air temperature inside the cave would average around 32.3 degrees from November 2011 till 2013 and only dropping below freezing 37% of the time.

Norbert Schörghofer is a planetary scientist with UH’s Institute for Astronomy.  He studies the amount of permafrost on Mauna Loa- measuring the rate of decline. 

  Schörghofer’s research will be published in the journal of Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine research.

Nick Yee’s passion for music developed at an early age, as he collected jazz and rock records pulled from dusty locations while growing up in both Southern California and Honolulu. In college he started DJing around Honolulu, playing Jazz and Bossa Nova sets at various lounges and clubs under the name dj mr.nick. He started to incorporate Downtempo, House and Breaks into his sets as his popularity grew, eventually getting DJ residences at different Chinatown locations. To this day, he is a fixture in the Honolulu underground club scene, where his live sets are famous for being able to link musical and cultural boundaries, starting mellow and building the audience into a frenzy while steering free of mainstream clichés.
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