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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Volcanoes Underwater

Volcanoes Underwater

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Saturday, August 12, 2017/Categories: natural history, video, environment, adventure

                                        Evolution of the Hawaiian Islands Along the Pacific Hotspot (credit: NOAA)

There are more volcanoes underwater than exist on land but they are difficult to observe until they erupt as islands. The Hawaiian Islands all began as undersea mountains developing along the Pacific hotspot in the Earth's crust. Each island eventually erupted above the surface to form the chain that exists today. Iceland developed similarly but sits directly on top the volcanic Mid-Atlantic Ridge separating two continental plates that are spreading outward away from each other. The two halves of the island are moving away from each other with every volcanic eruption on their half of island.

Researchers with the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the national and international organization of Earth scientists have combined data from geochemistry, geophysics, geosystems using hydro-acoustic images and remotely operated vehicles (ROV's) that sample underwater volcanoes and the formations they produce. A video was developed with the data gathered during ongoing undersea eruptions. It incorporates the acoustic and undersea information to explain the process of island formation from a volcano that just broke the surface near El Hierro, the smallest of Spain's Canary Islands.



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