“Sharkcano” is erupting! NASA satellite images capture a plume of discolored water emitted from the Kavachi volcano where mutant sharks live in an acidic underwater crater
- Satellite images show a plume of discolored water emitted from Kavachi
- Data suggests multi-day volcanic activity in April and May 2022
- Kavachi was nicknamed “sharkcano” because two species of sharks live there
- Scientists believe they mutated to survive the hot, acidic environment
NASA has warned that an underwater volcano in the Solomon Islands – nicknamed the ‘sharkcano’ because two species of sharks are known to live in the submerged crater – is starting to erupt.
Satellite images show a plume of discolored water emitted from the Kavachi volcano, which lies about 15 miles south of Vangunu Island, on May 14.
The volcano entered an eruptive phase in October 2021, according to the Smithsonian Global Volcanism Program, and new satellite data suggests multi-day activity in April and May 2022.
Previous research has shown that these plumes of superheated, acidic water typically contain particles, volcanic rock fragments and sulfur, according to NASA.
However, this shouldn’t be a problem for resident sharks, which have adapted to thrive in hot, acidic conditions.
NASA satellite images show a plume of discolored water emitted from the Kavachi volcano, which lies about 15 miles south of Vangunu Island, on May 14
NASA Earth Observatory images were captured by Joshua Stevens, using Landsat data from the US Geological Survey
The power of underwater volcanoes revealed
Explosive volcanic eruptions like the one that devastated Tonga in January are not limited to shallow waters and can occur at depths of “at least” one kilometer (1.6 miles), a study has found.
Researchers from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) have found that underwater eruptions are far more powerful than first thought, capable of blasting volcanic rock through the air at “supersonic” speeds. ” in a few seconds.
QUT researcher Scott Bryan said the presence of pink pumice in the water after a 2012 South Pacific eruption located 900m below sea level was key to the study.
“Previous studies thought that magma rose slowly from the sea floor and that deep submarine eruptions could not be explosive,” Professor Bryan told AAP.
“But our study shows that Le Havre was so powerful that it was able to cut through nearly a kilometer of seawater to send hot pumice into the air to oxidize and get that color. .”
A 2015 scientific expedition to the Kavachi volcano found two species of sharks – including the scalloped hammerhead shark and the silky shark – living in the submerged crater.
The researchers also found a six-gilled ray, snappers, jellyfish, and microbial communities that thrive on sulfur.
The presence of the sharks has raised “new questions about the ecology of active submarine volcanoes and the extreme environments in which large marine animals can exist,” the researchers wrote in a 2016 paper, “Exploring the Sharkcano.”
They think the sharks must have mutated to survive in this hot, acidic environment.
“These large animals live in what you have to assume is much warmer, much more acidic water,” ocean engineer Brennan Phillips told National Geographic at the time.
“It makes you wonder what kind of extreme environment these animals are adapted to. What kinds of changes have they undergone? Are there only certain animals that can handle it?
Kavachi is one of the most active underwater volcanoes in the Pacific and is also named Rejo te Kvachi, which means Kavachi’s oven.
The first reports of its activity were recorded in 1939.
There have been at least 11 major eruptions since the late 1970s, and two – in 1976 and 1991 – were so powerful they created new islands.
However, these islands were not large enough to resist erosion and were eventually submerged.
Kavachi Volcano is what is called a shallow submarine volcano off Vangunu Island. It is one of the most active underwater volcanoes in the Pacific and is also named Rejo te Kvachi, which means Kavachi’s oven. The first reports of its activity were recorded in 1939. It is seen erupting in 2000
The summit of the volcano is currently estimated to be 65 feet (20 meters) below sea level; its base rests on the seabed at a depth of 0.75 miles (1.2 kilometers).
The frequent shallow submarine eruptions sometimes break through the surface, ejecting jets of steam, ash, fragments of volcanic rock and glowing “bombs” above the surface.
The news comes after a huge eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai submarine volcano in Tonga unleashed explosive forces equivalent to 30 million tons of TNT, hundreds of times more than the Hiroshima atomic bomb. .
The volcano spewed debris up to 25 miles into the atmosphere when it erupted on January 15.
It triggered a 7.4 magnitude earthquake, sending tsunami waves crashing across the island, leaving it covered in ash and cut off from outside help.
Radar readings before and after this month’s eruption show that only small parts of two Tongan islands remain above the volcano – Hunga Tonga and Hunga Ha’apai.
Tonga’s underwater volcanic eruption in January was as powerful as Krakatoa’s in 1883
Tonga’s volcanic eruption in January produced the strongest waves recorded from a volcano since Krakatoa erupted in 1883, scientists say.
Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai, an undersea volcano in the South Pacific, created sound waves heard as far away as Alaska 6,200 miles away when it erupted on January 15.
Researchers say the eruption was “on par” with Krakatoa, and the largest explosion ever recorded by modern geophysical equipment.
It was significantly larger than all atmospheric nuclear bomb tests, meteor explosions and volcanic eruptions in history, including Mount St. Helens in 1980 and Pinatubo in 1991.
Barometer readings show the volcano produced a pressure wave that circled the globe four times in six days – about the same as Krakatoa.