‘Sharkcano’ is erupting! NASA satellite images capture a discolored column of water emitting from the Kavachi volcano, where mutant sharks live in an acidic underwater crater
- Satellite images show a discolored column of water emitted by Kavachi
- Data suggest volcanic activity on various days in April and May 2022
- Kavachi has been nicknamed ‘sharkcano’ because two species of sharks live there
- Scientists believe that they have mutated to survive the hot and acidic environment.
NASA has warned that an underwater volcano in the Solomon Islands, dubbed ‘sharkcano’ because two species of sharks are known to live in the submerged crater, is beginning to erupt.
Satellite images show a discolored plume of water emitted from the Kavachi volcano, which is located about 15 miles south of Vangunu Island, on May 14.
The volcano entered an eruptive phase in October 2021, according to the Smithsonian’s 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 particulate matter, fragments of volcanic rocks, and sulfur, according to NASA.
However, this shouldn’t be a problem for the resident sharks, which have adapted to thrive in the hot, acidic conditions.
NASA satellite images show a discolored plume of water emitted from the Kavachi volcano, which is located about 15 miles south of Vangunu Island, on May 14.
The 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 water and can occur at depths of “at least” one kilometer (1.6 miles), according to a study.
Researchers at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) have found that underwater eruptions are much more powerful than previously thought, capable of launching volcanic rocks into the air at ‘supersonic’ speeds in seconds.
QUT researcher Scott Bryan said the presence of pink pumice in the water after a 2012 South Pacific eruption, located 900 meters below sea level, was central to the study.
“Previous studies thought that magma rose gently from the sea floor and that deep submarine eruptions could not be explosive,” Professor Bryan told the AAP.
“But our study shows that Havre was so powerful that it could cut through nearly a kilometer of ocean water to launch hot pumice into the air to oxidize it to that color.”
A 2015 scientific expedition to Kavachi volcano found two species of sharks, including the scalloped hammerhead and silky shark, living in the submerged crater.
The researchers also found a streak of sixgills, snappers, jellyfish and microbial communities that thrive on sulfur.
The sharks’ presence raised “new questions about the ecology of active underwater volcanoes and the extreme environments in which large marine animals may exist,” the researchers wrote in a 2016 paper, “Exploring the Sharkcano.”
They believe that the sharks must have mutated to survive in the hot, acidic environment.
“These large animals live in what is supposed to be much hotter and 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 kind of changes have they undergone? Are there only certain animals that can resist it?
Kavachi is one of the most active submarine volcanoes in the Pacific and also goes by the name Rejo te Kvachi, which means Kavachi Furnace.
The first reports of its activity were recorded in 1939.
There have been at least 11 significant 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 known as a shallow underwater volcano off the coast of Vangunu Island. It is one of the most active submarine volcanoes in the Pacific and is also called Rejo te Kvachi, which means Kavachi Furnace. The first reports of its activity were recorded in 1939. It is seen erupting in 2000
The top of the volcano is currently estimated to be 65 feet (20 meters) below sea level; its base is on the seabed at a depth of 0.75 miles (1.2 kilometers).
Frequent shallow underwater eruptions sometimes break the surface, spewing jets of steam, ash, volcanic rock fragments, and glowing “bombs” onto the surface.
The news comes after a major eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai underwater volcano in Tonga unleashed explosive forces equivalent to up 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 into the island, leaving it covered in ash and cut off from outside aid.
Radar surveys before and after this month’s eruption show that only small parts of two Tonga 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 recorded waves from a volcano since Krakatoa’s 1883 eruption, scientists say.
Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai, an underwater volcano in the South Pacific, created sound waves that were heard as far 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 the atmospheric nuclear bomb tests, meteor explosions and volcanic eruptions in history, including Mount St. Helens in 1980 and Pinatubo in 1991.
Barometer readings show that the volcano produced a pressure wave that circled the globe four times over six days, about the same as Krakatoa.