Read all about NASA warns underwater volcano Kavachi eruption! NASA warns of a possible new eruption of the underwater volcano Kavachi, unusual home of sharks in the Pacific.
NASA has warned of a possible new eruption of the Pacific underwater volcano Kavachi after several satellite images detected an anomaly: clearer water around the crater.
Located in the Solomon Islands, this is one of the most active volcanoes in the Pacific: in recent years it experienced two major eruptions in 2007 and 2014, and entered the eruptive phase last 2021, as collected by the Smithsonian Institute.
The enclave became famous when it was discovered that sharks — and other species of fish such as rays, as well as jellyfish — lived near the volcano under the waters, despite the acidity of it and the elevated temperatures caused by the eruptions.
NASA warns underwater volcano Kavachi eruption
This place became known after it was discovered that sharks, rays, and other fish inhabited the area despite the elevated temperatures and the acidity of the water product of the eruptions.
It was an unusual discovery for the scientific community, which used robots and cameras to explore the area, a priori uninhabitable.
The 2015 scientific expedition found two distinct species of sharks living in the submerged crater, including hammerhead sharks.
Another article in the journal Oceanography published in 2016 also found microbial communities that thrive on sulphur.
The research triggered "new questions about the ecology of active underwater volcanoes and the extreme environments in which large marine animals can exist."
NASA warns underwater volcano Kavachi eruption hypotheses
One of the hypotheses is that active volcanoes supply nutrients to the ocean that could attract large predators such as sharks, especially considering the loss of their food due to overfishing.
As a curiosity, the area was nicknamed Sharkano, a play on words between shark and volcano.
The following image, which was shared by NASA, shows photographs from May 14, 2022, taken by the Operational Land Imager-2 (OLI-2) on Landsat 9.
They show a column of discoloured water emitted by the submarine volcano, which is located about twenty-four kilometres (15 miles) south of Vangunu Island.
The island is named after a sea god of the Gatokae and Vangunu peoples and is sometimes also referred to as Rejo te Kvachi, or Kavachi Furnace.
Previous research has shown that such superheated acidic water columns usually contain particles, fragments of volcanic rock and sulphur, being indicators of eruptive activity.
NASA warns underwater volcano Kavachi eruption area
Kavachi was formed in a tectonically active area. It produces basaltic lavas, rich in magnesium and iron, up to andesitic, which contain more silica. It has phreatomagmatic eruptions, where the contact of water and magma triggers explosive eruptions that eject steam, ash, fragments of volcanic rock and incandescent bombs.
To find the first recorded eruption, one must go back many decades ago, to 1939. In addition to being an unusual home for sharks, Kavachi has created several ephemeral islands, washed away, and eroded by the waves.
According to NASA data, the volcano is twenty meters below sea level, and its base is located on the seabed, at a depth of 1.2 kilometres.
In 2015, the video of the sharks was integrated into the documentary premiered on National Geographic and that addresses the relationship of underwater volcanoes as habitats for sharks and other aquatic animals.
It remains to wait: the frantic activity in Sharkano continues and Kavachi could erupt very soon, according to the indications of these recent satellite images.