Fire Under the Sea: Submarine Volcanoes, Ridges, and Vents

To the excitement of the scientific community, geologists witnessed the birth of a new island in the Solomon Islands on May 26th. The island is being formed by the submarine eruption of Kavachi, an undersea volcano that had been dormant for nine years. This week's In the News covers the topic of submarine volcanoes and vents with press releases and photos of the most recent eruptions and a number of research sites containing physical, geological, and some biological information about these phenomena (for sites that concentrate on the biology of submarine vents, refer to the February 17, 1999 _Scout Report for Science and Engineering_).

The first two sites are related to the recent eruption of a new island in the Solomon Islands. (1) is the press release from the_Sydney Morning Herald_. (2) is from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and contains a (RealPlayer) video taken from the R.V. Franklin, the research vessel used to explore the eruption. The third site (3) is also a press release: _Time Magazine Europe_'s coverage of submarine volcanoes of the Mediterranean. To obtain regularly updated information on submarine volcanoes and related structures, visit the site (4) provided by the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The Submarine Volcanoes, Seamounts, and Mountain Chains section contains information about specific localities (Kavachi, Solomon Islands, for example). Other features of the site include a menu of volcano types, information about seafloor spreading and plate tectonics, and details of Hawaiian volcanoes. Another good informational site is the Submarine Volcano section (5) of Volcano World (the entire Volcano World site was described in the December 9, 1998 _Scout Report for Science and Engineering_). Two sites from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration provide details of current research: (6) is the main page of the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory Vents program, which conducts research on the impacts of submarine volcanoes and hydrothermal vents on the global ocean; (7) is the homepage of the Vents Geology Program. Both of these NOAA sites contain images, videos and data from NeMO (New Millennium Observatory Network) (.fli, .mov, .mpg). Lamont-Doherty Laboratory's Petrological Database of the Ocean Floor (8) and Hawaii Mapping Research Group's East Pacific Rise Online Data site (9) provide data sets from seafloor volcano and vent observatories. The Field Museum of Natural History Collections Department provides an online, searchable database of marine vent invertebrates (10) as a tool for potential users of the collection to obtain advance information about material available by loan or for on-site study. The hydrothermal vent-dwelling invertebrates were collected from the Juan de Fuca Ridge from the East Pacific Ridge. Finally, slightly older news includes an item about the gigantic submarine volcano found smoking off the coast of Samoa (11) and NOAA's account of the Axial Seamount eruption off the coast of Oregon (12) that includes color images and MPEG videos. [HCS]

1. "What a Blast . . . Witnessing the Birth of an Island"

2. "Scientists Witness Birth of New Island" [RealPlayer]

3. "Fire from the Sea"

4. Submarine Volcanoes, Ridges, and Vents

5. Submarine Volcanoes

6. Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory Vents Program [.mpeg, FTP, .zip, .dbf, .shx, .shp]

7. Vents Geology Program [.mpeg]

8. Petrological Database of the Ocean Floor [.pdf, Excel]

9. Hawaii Mapping Research Group: East Pacific Rise Online Data [.ps, .pdf]

10. Exotic Underwater Habitats

11. "Active 14,000-Foot-High Submarine Volcano Found Near Samoa In South Pacific"

12. Axial Seamount Volcanic Event, January, 1998 [.mpeg]

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