Scientists from British Antarctic Survey have mapped a series of volcanoes beneath the frozen sea near Antarctica. Some of them still active. It is a discovery of the first underwater volcanoes in the region.
Using a boat equipped with seabed mapping technology RRS James Clark Ross, the scientists found 12 volcanoes in the area. Varied and there are high mountains which reach 3,000 meters over the sea floor.
In this expedition, they also found a crater 5,000 meters in diameter. The crater is thought to be formed due to volcanic eruptions. A total of seven mountains which lay an active group of islands form a chain-like.
This discovery is very important to understand what really happens when a volcano erupted under the sea or collapsed. Also to know how big the potential for a tsunami that can be generated.
In addition, it is interesting to see how much life and diversity of marine creatures in the underwater landscape. It was associated with hot water caused by volcanic activity.
Speaking at an international symposium entitled “Antarctic Earth Sciences” in Edinburgh, UK, earlier this month, Phil Leat of the British Antarctic Survey said: “There are still many secrets of volcanic activity beneath the sea that we do not understand.”
According to Leat, “underwater mapping technology available today not only presents a story about the evolution of the earth, but also gives a clue as to how dangerous the threat posed to the densely populated area.”
The series of underwater volcanoes are spread across the South Sandwich Islands. It lies isolated and sea water on it partially covered with snow.
The last time the eruption in the region in 2008. Leat admitted he leads the team were quite surprised by their findings.
“We do not intend to seek a volcano there. We went to the area because there is an unknown area on the map and we also do not know what’s going on down there. We just want to fill that void,” Leat said.
During exploration, Leat claimed many surprising things happen. ”It’s nice to see it,” Leat said. ”When we’re busy watching the seabed sonar images on the screen, suddenly loomed up to the seafloor as the ship.”
Another time, he said, one night they met with a very large volcano. The mountain is very close and seemed to be crashing the ship RRS James Clark Ross. ”Very scary. We think the ship would hit the top of the mountain,” he said.
Luckily, the ship immediately turning around. When during the day they returned to the area, it found several peaks indeed arise to the surface of the sea. Height about 50 meters from the sea.
Although most of the peaks are not visible from the sea and had to be assisted by three-dimensional mapping devices to detect them, scientists believe that they found was a volcano.