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Posted: Wednesday, June 25th, 2014 11:28 AM HST

Scientists departing for Loihi research expedition

By Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) A University of Hawaii scientist is leading an expedition to Loihi seamount south of the Big Island.

Researchers plan to map the seamount's deeper reaches using an autonomous underwater vehicle. The team will also collect water column samples and explore Loihi's iron-oxidizing bacteria. The bacteria use iron as an energy source and create rust in the process.

The expedition starts Wednesday. It's being led by Associate Professor of Oceanography Brian Glazer. He's being joined by scholars from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the University of Minnesota, the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Loihi seamount is an undersea mountain rising nearly 10,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean floor. It's sometimes called the "youngest volcano" in the Hawaiian island chain.

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