In May of this year, NASA’s Operational Land Imager-2 riding aboard the Landsat 9 satellite, managed to snap photos of Kavachi erupting. While the summit is only 65 feet below the surface of the water, the base sits on the seafloor some 3,937 feet (0.75 miles) below.
According to NASA’s Earth Observatory, the last time Kavachi had a significant eruption was back in 2014. But it wasn’t until 2015 that a research team went to investigate the underwater wonder. The timing of its findings, combined with the relative lack of any significant eruptions, explains why we haven’t heard much about sharkcanos … until now.
The oceanographers discovered that a whole biological ecosystem consisting of gelatinous animals, small fish like Bluefin trevally and snapper, and two (of the over 400) species of shark — the hammerhead and silky — were living quite happily within the bowels of Kavachi.
🦈 Youâ€™ve heard of sharknado, now get ready for sharkcano.
The Kavachi Volcano in the Solomon Islands is home to two species of sharks. Itâ€™s also one of the most active submarine volcanoes in the Pacific, seen here erupting underwater by #Landsat 9.https://t.co/OoQU5hGWXQ pic.twitter.com/vEdRypzlgi
— NASA Goddard (@NASAGoddard) May 22, 2022
Hydrothermal plumes found within other undersea volcanoes are believed to contain superheated hazy clouds of “particulate matter” with boosted levels of helium (3He) and sulfur, but also with weakened pH values (via Earth Observatory). In fact, one diver during the mission experienced pain when his exposed skin came into contact with the acidic outer line of bubbles in the plume.
Oceanographers have, as a result, taken a deeper look into the adaptability of marine animals. If sharks and other marine life can survive and even thrive in such extreme conditions, it has also given them hope that despite what man does to the planet and its oceans, nature will always find a way.
And we certainly hope a deluge of “Sharkcano” movies aren’t far behind.