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UH researchers receive $1.29M to explore the vast array of lava tubes on Hawaiʻi Island

lava tube hawaii island
Megan Porter/University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Assistant Professor Rebecca Chong explores lava tube caves on Hawai‘i Island.

With eight different climate zones and hundreds of unique species, Hawaiʻi Island is well known for its rich ecological diversity. But it’s also home to a mysterious underworld — a webbed map of lava tubes that contain undiscovered life.

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa researchers Megan Porter and Rebecca "Becky" Chong are part of a team that was just awarded over $1 million by the National Science Foundation to explore the realm beneath our feet. They spoke with The Conversation about what they hope to find. It’s a big undertaking, Porter says, because Hawaiʻi Island has more lava tubes than anywhere else in the world.

This interview aired on The Conversation on March 29, 2022. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

Savannah Harriman-Pote is the energy and climate change reporter.
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