NASA warns that sulfuric acid “Charcot” is about to explode

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Put this under “I didn’t believe it until I checked the source.” There is a submerged “shark volcano” in the Solomon Islands, and NASA scientists have warned that it may be about to erupt.

Yes, you read that correctly. It is a submerged arc volcano full of sharks. The volcano’s name is Kavachi, and it lives in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, about 24 km (15 mi) south of Fangono Island. Geologically, it is northeast of an active subduction zone. Kavachi is also surrounded by the Bougainville Trench to the southwest. Challenger Deep, in the Mariana Trench, lies to the northwest.

Western cartographers identified the volcano after a major eruption in 1939. Kavachi is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. In terms of looks, it’s been blowing more or less continuously since we discovered it. Volcano Island is named after the sea god of the Gatokae and Vangunu peoples. The locals sometimes call it Rejo te Kvachior “Cavaci oven”.

In October of 2021, Kavachi entered an “eruption phase,” according to the Smithsonian’s Global Volcanism Program. Now, in images from NASA’s Landsat 9, there is an expanding plume of shifting water coming from the submarine volcano. When Karachi explodes, it releases a column of harmful sulfur compounds and caustic acid into the water.

Shark volcano erupting.  Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory/Joshua Stevens/Landsat/USGS

Fangono Island is located in the South Pacific Ocean. Inset: an eruption plume coming from Kavachi’s. Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory/Joshua Stevens/Landsat/USGS

Since we discovered it, Kavachi has created several ephemeral islands, up to one kilometer long. However, the relevant wave action eroded and washed them away. Thus, the column comes from one of Kavachi’s two submerged peaks. Current estimates place the summit of the shark volcano at about 20 meters (65 ft) below sea level. Its base lies at the bottom of the sea, about a mile away.

It’s no surprise that Sharkcano is full of sharks

it’s the truth. Kavaci’s oven is full of sharks. Hammer heads, to be exact! A 2015 scientific expedition to a shark volcano dropped GoPro baits directly into Kavachi’s hydrothermal vents. It revealed a vibrant ecosystem, from megafauna to zooplankton. There were silky sharks and hammer, flourishing among reef fish in the depths of the crater. The lava rocks near the undersea Kavachi vents were crawling with sulfur-loving bacteria. Concentrated carbon dioxide2 Bubbles from the top, turning seawater into an acid strong enough to burn skin.

This unique and extreme environment exists because the talented shark volcano produces more than one type of lava. The first in its molten ammunition is a liquid, free-flowing basaltic Lava is rich in magnesium and iron. Basalt eruptions are relatively quiet. Because basaltic lava is so thin, gases can escape. Therefore, instead of making giant eruptive plumes, basalt tends to produce a liquid a And Bahoho Lava flow. This type of eruption made the shield volcanoes of Hawaii. Researchers have found that the current eruption of the Kavaci volcano is mostly basaltic. This may be the cause of a plume of sulfuric water venting, rather than a giant volcanic eruption.

However, Kavachi also releases fluorescent materials rich in silica Andesi magma; Andean eruptions are an entirely different story. In fact, andesite is one of the reasons why this volcano is also known for its massive volcanic eruptions. In this type of volcanic eruption, magma meets water, causing steam eruptions and throwing occasional bombs that spew ash, fragments of igneous rock, and molten rock. Andesite eruptions can create the deadliest volcanic hazard: lava clouds. (If you’re wondering, yes, it’s the same type of andesite as in Minecraft.)

In Soviet Russia, the shark jumps you

If Kavachi were to throw a shark at us, it would be during a volcanic eruption. But the sharks control it. The volcano is completely submerged. These sharks can go out at any time they want, but they do not leave. They just love hanging out in the crater of the volcano. Indeed, video evidence and RNA sequencing indicate that the plants and animals that inhabit the sharks have made unique genetic adaptations to their environment.

Scaly snails. Written by Kentaro Nakamura et al., 2012. Plus One 7 (3): e32965. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0032965

Moreover, these iron-sulfur-rich hydrothermal vents are exactly the type of environment that may have fostered life in the depths of our planet’s history. Before the oxygen catastrophe, bacteria in the oxygen-free depths of the ocean turned to iron and sulfur to meet their metabolic needs. These primitive species still exist. They have even formed symbiotic relationships with inhabitants of hydrothermal vents such as the scaly foot snail. This snail is the most metallic thing ever. Thanks to one of the endosymbiosis bacteria, the snail coats its shell with iron and makes a layer of volumetric mail for spongy pieces, using metallic iron sulfide. This means that her armor is made of metal, as well as of poison. It’s more metal than slayers wrapped in barbed wire. Nathan Explosion would agree.

Scientists who conducted a 2016 expedition to the shark noted in their report that “[t]An ecosystem supported by the harsh environment of the Kavachi crater may provide clues as to which animal species have survived major changes in ocean chemistry, and which will thrive in future ocean conditions.” Future studies of Kavachi and submerged volcanoes could teach us more about the evolution of life on this planet, as well as to the life history of the planet itself.

Featured image of Joel Hruska. Hammerhead shark by Chris Michael Christer, CC BY-SA 3.0. Kavachi blast by Alex Decicio, CC BY-SA 4.0

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