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are approximately 30 submerged banks in the Northwestern Hawaiian
Islands. Up until recently very little was known about the
beyond that they were shield volcanoes formed at the hotspot.
Some scientists believe that many of the banks act as stepping
stones for marine organisms to migrate in the region.
The bank areas provide extensive habitat for bottomfish and
a few are known to provide foraging habitat for endangered
Hawaiian monk seals. Large precious corals, such as gold,
pink and black are also found in the deep waters of the banks.
These corals are not light gathering but strain the surrounding
waters for food.
first Hawaiian coral reefs originated around the oldest islands.
Many of these islands are now seamounts sunken to great depths.
Other seamounts have never emerged above the oceans
surface. Guyots are sunken volcanoes that became flat topped
seamounts. Fish and precious corals may be concentrated near
the tops of seamounts or guyots.
Rogatien, Brooks Banks, and other unnamed banks surrounding
French Frigate Shoals. Little is known about these bank
areas, except that Hawaiian monk seals have been observed
foraging in these areas, probably for eels. The Hawaii
Undersea Research Laboratory plans to visit these banks in
several deep sea dives beginning in 2002 to build a greater
understanding of the areas.
Bank is just west of Gardner Pinnacles. The crest or top
of Raita Bank is about 60 feet from the ocean surface. Bottom
habitats of relatively shallow banks such as Raita tend to
be barren when compared with more sheltered coral reef environments.
Recent surveys revealed less than 1% live coral cover in the
shallow portions of Raita Bank, with the bottom scoured by
wave action and strong currents. Raita is one of the larger
banks in the NWHI, and there is much yet to be discovered
about this area.
Bank is only 22 nautical miles from Neva Shoals, and the
features combine to form a major coral reef ecosystem rich
in biodiversity and with a variety of marine habitats.
Talk About It!
Formation of Hawaiian Islands
Asked by courtney from assignmen tnote book on Jan 11, 2006.
how did the hawiian islands form
Answered by Andy from NOAA on Jan 16, 2006.