Deepest and most explosive underwater eruption ever seen happening near Samoa hotspot

October 20, 2011SAMOAAn underwater volcano bursting with glowing lava bubbles — the deepest active submarine eruption seen to date — is shedding light on how volcanism can impact deep-sea life and reshape the face of the planet. Submarine eruptions account for about three-quarters of all of Earth’s volcanism, but the overlying ocean and the sheer vastness of the seafloor makes detecting and observing them difficult. The only active submarine eruptions that scientists had seen and analyzed until now were at the volcano NW Rota-1, near the island of Guam in the western Pacific. Now researchers have witnessed the deepest active submarine eruption yet. The volcano in question, West Mata, lies near the islands of Fiji in the southwestern Pacific in the Lau Basin. Here, the rate of subduction — the process in which one massive tectonic plate dives under another, typically forming chains of volcanoes — is the highest on Earth, and the region hosts ample signs of recent submarine volcanism. “It was absolutely stunning and exciting, something we’d never seen on the seafloor before,” researcher Joseph Resing, an oceanographer at the University of Washington in Seattle, told OurAmazingPlanet. This submarine eruption is the deepest seen yet, about 2,200 feet (700 m) deeper than NW Rota-1. This was deeper than scientists had expected to see explosive eruptions. Water pressure goes up the further down you go, “so as pressure goes up, the ability of gas as it comes out of magma to cause explosions is diminished, and the thought was that you wouldn’t get explosive eruptions below about 1,000 meters (3,300 feet),” Resing said. Eruptions at centers of ocean floor spreading — where the majority of eruptions on Earth happen — generally seem to occur in relatively short episodes lasting hours to months, but West Mata appears to have erupted near continuously since it was first observed in 2008. This might be because magma is focused there, instead of being spread across many volcanoes at once. “However, this is a question that we don’t currently know the answer to,” Resing said.OAP
This entry was posted in Earth Changes, Earth Watch, High-risk potential hazard zone, Lithosphere collapse & fisssure, Potential Earthchange hotspot, Seismic tremors, Signs of Magnetic Field weakening, Volcanic Eruption, Volcano Watch. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Deepest and most explosive underwater eruption ever seen happening near Samoa hotspot

  1. kinda stealthy says:

    Imagine the damage done if one of these submarine eruptions were to break out beneath an old abandoned nuclear sub or some burried plutonium containers…yikes =/


  2. Evo says:

    As always, thank you Alvin, for keeping us tuned in, to what is really happening on this planet. Without this site, I would have little knowledge of “real” world events.
    What is agitating magma, and tectonics, worldwide? Why is this happening now?
    In my parents lifetime, or my grandparents life time, they might have seen one, or maybe two events.
    We are witness to people walking on the moon. Probes rambling around Mars.
    We are witness to Haiti, Japan, Katrina, and the dreadful tsunami that killed a quarter of a million people.
    We are witness to the ice melting at a rate never seen before, by the human race.
    The Suns activity slowing down in a really weird way.
    Money losing all its value.
    Long serving dictators taken down within months, or even weeks.
    And the greatest technological advancements our planet has ever seen. (How else could I speak to you.?)
    This is why your site is so important to me. It’s becoming more and more difficult to separate the events of our planet, (what’s really important) from the dramas that people on our world create everyday.
    Mother nature has never been a force to ignore, and your site allows me to see what she is doing everyday. Thank you again for all your insights, and the awareness you supply to us.


  3. Fillade says:

    Hello Alvin, I wish this was my life long course of study, I am in construction management, informed interaction is eye opening. Recently a scientist I know gave a speak on the potiental global impact should the earth move off it’s axis. He provided it has woobled but returned to a common degree.This for me was alarming, should the earth severly leave it’s degree of axis the resulting impact on the surface mass would be terminal.
    The seismic activity stradeling the equator is omonous, should there be an unbalanced vacate of magma big things will change quickly.
    Contenents don’t slow down quickly well, they tend to keep moving. This is exciting.


  4. Gen says:

    1.9 20 October 2011 @ 20:06:56 UTC -38.355 145.880 10km depth
    AUST Korumburra, VIC. Not significant


  5. bridak says:

    I love this site !
    Thank you for everything you do to keep us informed friend.

    Much Love to All


  6. Michele B says:

    California Bay Area rumbling a bit today.


  7. This is fascinating. Thank you for posting.



  8. Kwazai says:

    I’d wonder in regards to volcanoes and the ocean, just what damage would be done from the sulfur and possibly methane gases that get released- just what amount would start a large kill of of marine life?
    Is there anyone out there collecting sea life ,like they are collecting seeds?


  9. luisport says:

    Tambora alert has been downgraded to level2
    (there is an english flag at the top of the page for translation)


  10. nickk0 says:

    “Submarine eruptions account for about three-quarters of all of Earth’s volcanism, but the overlying ocean and the sheer vastness of the seafloor makes detecting and observing them difficult.”

    It is amazing, and staggering to realize, that as much as scientists and geologists know about the Earth, much of the vastness of the world’s oceans are barely explored ! 😮

    – Nick


    • Which means by the time the changes show up on land- as they are now; it’s suddenly 10 mintues to midnight. John F. Kennedy always said the fate of humanity was tied to the unexplored mysteries of oceans- perhaps he was right.


  11. Shawn says:

    Interesting. Speaking from a scientific viewpoint this could cause sea level rises from displacement of the water and new land building up. Along with ice melting in the arctic sea level changes could occur faster than previously thought.


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