Credit: Cedric Letsh/Unsplash

Making explosive undersea eruptions in the lab

Embargoed until: Publicly released:
Peer-reviewed: This work was reviewed and scrutinised by relevant independent experts.

The majority of Earth’s volcanic eruptions occur under the sea, so scientists have limited opportunities to observe and take samples from these events. An international team of researchers, including scientists from the University of Otago, have built a lab-based system to mimic deep-sea eruptions in order to improve their understanding of volcanic activity. They compared their laboratory observations with those from the submarine eruption of Havre Volcano, Kermadec Arc, New Zealand, in 2012. Their findings help to explain how cooling magma interacts with water to create explosive eruptions at different depths under sea, and may even help scientists understand volcanoes on other planets.

Journal/conference: Nature Geoscience

Link to research (DOI): 10.1038/s41561-020-0603-4

Organisation/s: University of Otago, University of Tasmania, University of Iceland, Iceland, Universität Würzburg, Germany, University of Bari, Italy, University of Oslo, Norway

Funder: This study was supported by MARSDEN grant U001616; Havre samples were obtained with NSF funding EAR1447559. R.J.C. was funded by Australian Research Council grants DP110102196 and DE150101190, and by US National Science Foundation grant OCE1357443.

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