Marine Link
Saturday, October 20, 2018

Underwater Fire - Exploring Submarine Volcanoes

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

December 24, 2017

 Photos provided by Schmidt Ocean Institute

Photos provided by Schmidt Ocean Institute

 Most of Earth’s volcanoes are in the oceans, yet scientists know very little about them compared to volcanoes on land.

 
Schmidt Ocean Institute’s research vessel Falkor recently completed a 41-day expedition near Tonga, using cutting-edge technology to map, view, and sample underwater volcanoes while sharing observations with the public using real-time video streaming and chat programs. 
 
Findings include detecting widespread evidence of deep sea explosive volcanism, observing one of the rarest volcanic rock types on Earth, exploring the largest known dacite lava flow on our planet, and discovering three new hydrothermal venting sites.  
 
Findings include detecting widespread evidence of deep sea explosive volcanism, observing one of the rarest volcanic rock types on Earth, exploring the largest known dacite lava flow on our planet, and discovering three new hydrothermal venting sites.
 
“Submarine volcanism is one of the fundamental processes that has affected both the composition of our oceans and the shape of the seabed, as well as the development of life on our planet," said Ken Rubin, Principal Investigator.
 
"It is hard to pick the most exciting things that we have learned on this expedition because we have learned so much. However, perhaps the top four are the number of recent eruptions in the area, the amount of deep sea explosive volcanic deposits, the wide range of volcanic styles on small, closely-spaced volcanoes, and the number and diversity of hydrothermal systems and habitats in the area."
 
Although these volcanoes are very closely-spaced (their bases are just 0.6 km apart on average), the stark volcanic differences between them were key findings. Four of the volcanoes have active hydrothermal systems (and another has an inactive site), but the style of the hydrothermal activity, the shapes and spacing of the chimneys, their heights and the biological communities living among them are all very different from site to site.
 
Maritime Reporter Magazine Cover Oct 2018 - Marine Design Annual

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