Researchers have, for the first time, captured images demonstrating the high pulsating nature of submarine volcanism highlighting the dynamic nature of the sea floor.
A team of researchers studying the Monowai submarine volcano in the Tonga-Kermadec Arc have recorded enormous changes in the collapse and growth rate of the volcano in just a period of two weeks.
The images captured shed new light on the link between the depth changes to explosive activity at the volcano.
The findings have been reported in the latest online edition of the journal Nature Geoscience.
MSNBC reported that as the researchers surveyed the seafloor near Monowai seamount in mid-May 2011 the crew noticed yellow-green water and gas bubbles rising above the volcano. As the ship was leaving the area, near Tonga, it went through a patch of discoloured water with a strong smell, like rotten eggs, Oxford University geologist Anthony Watts said.
A week later, as Watts and his team surveyed another area, they found one more piece of compelling information. A seismic station in Cook Islands detected an intense five-day swarm of seismic activity and traced it to an eruption at Monowai seamount. Watts and the ship returned to find that parts of the volcano had collapsed and grown in dramatic fashion.
According to OurAmazingPlanet, using advanced bathymetry tools, the scientists saw that a large section of the volcano's flank had collapsed - a volume equal to about 630 Olympic-size swimming pools. The peak of the volcano, however, had grown by 236 feet (72 metres), adding 3,500 swimming pools' worth of volume to the summit.
The researchers mentioned that although the cause of the collapse is unclear, they believe that the new material was most likely hardened magma that erupted the week before.
The rapid changes noted at Monowai thus indicate that the volcano grows and collapses in dramatic pulses.
Till date, it was difficult to study submarine volcanoes and so, little was known if other similar volcanoes also grew in rapid pulses.
Catch a glimpse of some spectacular images of underwater volcano eruptions in different parts of the world below: