Scientists from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) have discovered a slew of previously undiscovered underwater volcanoes in the ocean waters around the remote South Sandwich Islands, a series of islands grouped together with Britain’s claim in Antarctica.
They found 12 volcanoes sitting beneath the surface of the ocean, some reaching up to 3 kilometres in height. They also found 5 kilometre diameter craters caused as a result of collapsing volcanoes and another 7 active volcanoes that are visible above the ocean surface as a chain of islands.
“There is so much that we don’t understand about volcanic activity beneath the sea — it’s likely that volcanoes are erupting or collapsing all the time,” said Dr Phil Leat from the British Antarctic Survey, speaking at the International Symposium on Antarctic Earth Sciences in Edinburgh.
“The technologies that scientists can now use from ships not only give us an opportunity to piece together the story of the evolution of our earth, but they also help shed new light on the development of natural events that pose hazards for people living in more populated regions on the planet.”
Research such as this is important for understanding what happens when volcanoes erupt or collapse underwater, and what such actions mean for creating tsunamis and other serious hazards.
Additionally, regions such as these with their warm waters caused by the volcanic activity are rich havens for many species of wildlife.
Source: British Antarctic Survey