USGS - science for a changing world

Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center

Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center Home Page Link


Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center Posters
More Information on:

Giant Hawaiian Underwater Landslides

USGS marine scientists have identified over fifteen giant landslides surrounding the Hawaiian Islands. The slides are among the largest known on Earth, and most have occurred within the past four million years. The youngest is thought to have occurred only one hundred thousand years ago, and there is evidence today that large blocks of land on the island of Hawaii are beginning to slide, generating large earthquakes in the process. Each slide has resulted in huge land losses to the islands and resulted in large waves that have carried rocks and sediments as high as 1000 ft above sea level. The giant Hawaiian landslides are important to study because, although they occur infrequently, they have potential for enormous loss of life, property, and resources. Much of the existing topography in Hawaii--both on land and on the seafloor--owes its origin to these landslides, and as such they are crucial to the understanding and evaluation of nearly all of the Hawaiian habitats and resources.

To learn more, follow the links below.

The posters are also available for viewing and downloading as Adobe PDF files. To view a PDF file within your browser, or to view the downloaded copy, you will need Adobe Reader. Download a free copy of Reader, for any computer system, from Adobe's web site.
Go to Adobe's web site to download Reader.

Mini version of the USGS poster Giant Hawaiian Underwater Landslides


Prodigious Submarine Landslides on the Hawaiian Ridge
Moore, J. G., D. A. Clague, R. T. Holcomb, P. W. Lipman, W. R. Normark, and M. E. Torresan (1989)
Journal of Geophysical Research, 94(B12), 17,465–17,484
[Download PDF (2.2 MB)]

The giant submarine Alika debris slide, Mauna Loa, Hawaii
Lipman, P. W., W. R. Normark, J. G. Moore, J. B. Wilson, and C. E. Gutmacher (1988). Journal of Geophysical Research, 93(B5), 4279–4299
[Download PDF (2.7 MB)]

Hawaiian Islands Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Sonar Imagery Map

GLORIA* and the EEZ SCAN Program
*Geological Long-Range Inclined Asdic

Preliminary cruise report, Hawaiian GLORIA Leg 2, F6-86-HW, November 1986
- USGS Open-File Report 87-298

Shipboard report for Hawaii GLORIA ground-truth cruise F2-88-HW, 25 Feb.-9 March, 1988
- USGS Open-File Report 88-292

Shipboard report for Hawaii GLORIA ground-truth cruise F11-88-HW, 25 Oct.-7 Nov., 1988
- USGS Open-File Report 89-109

Cruise report; Hawaiian GLORIA legs 3 and 4, F3-88-HW and F4-88-HW
- USGS Open-File Report 89-213

Cruise report Hawaiian GLORIA Leg 7, F10-88-HW
- USGS Open-File Report 91-333

Submarine volcanism: Hawaiian Landslides
from Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI)

Giant Landslides along the Hawaiian Islands
from University of Hawaii's School of Ocean and Earth Science an Technology (SOEST)

Tsunami modeling from submarine landslides
Download a PDF of the paper by Kenji Satake

Atlas of GLORIA sidescan-sonar imagery of the Exclusive Economic Zone of the United States: EEZ-View
- USGS Open-File Report 97-540

USGS Western Region Evening Public Lecture Series:
2005 Video Archive, March 31st, 2005:
"Commotions in the Oceans--
USGS Shipboard Research Sparked Scientific Advances"
By William R. Normark, and
David W. Scholl, Marine Geologists
see the video: mms://

Cruise report; GLORIA survey of part of the Hawaiian Exclusive Economic Zone, F1-90-HW
- USGS Open-File Report 90-345

Cruise report, Hawaiian GLORIA cruise F12-89-HW
- USGS Open-File Report 91-127

Cruise report, Hawaiian GLORIA cruise F13-89-HW
- USGS Open-File Report 91-337

Cruise report; GLORIA survey of the Hawaiian Island chain, F2-90-HW
- USGS Open-File Report 92-206

Maps of Hawaiian Islands exclusive economic zone interpreted from GLORIA sidescan-sonar imagery
- USGS Scientific Investigations Map 2824

Oblique map of Loihi Seamount and Papa'u Landslide, Hawaii
- USGS Open-File Report 82-463

Earthquakes and related catastrophic events, Island of Hawaii, November 29, 1975; a preliminary report
- USGS Circular 740

U.S. West Coast and Alaska Marine Geohazards Project

view or download files for printing:


Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: Laura Zink Torresan
Page Last Modified: 10 May 2012 (lzt)