Submarine eruption at Havre volcano built a new volcanic cone


New Zealand scientists investigating an active Kermadec undersea volcano Havre discovered significant changes to the seafloor during its last eruption on July 19, 2012. The eruption was captured by a Nasa satellite, and a Royal New Zealand Air Force Orion patrol spotted the huge pumice area on their way back home from Samoa (read our earlier report)

Scientists, aboard Niwa research ship – Tangaroa (deepwater research vessel), used multibeam sonar to map the seamount and found evidence of a new volcanic cone, 240 m tall and reaching withing 1,100 m below sea level, built on the side of the large submarine caldera of Havre. Aside from new volcanic cone they also found one side of the caldera wall is bulging in towards the volcano's center, indicating where an eruption may occur in the future or it may lead to an undersea avalanche.

Niwa's volcanologist Dr Richard Wysoczanski, who is leading the 23-day expedition, said there had been volcanic activity every year for the past decade, but this was the largest by far.

"It is a substantial eruption. Had it occurred on land in New Zealand, it would have been a bit of a disaster."

The volcanic caldera, which is like Lake Taupo, known to produce large and violent eruptions, spewed up to 10 000 more material than the Mt Tongariro eruption on August 6, he said.


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