About one in every eight people in the world do not have access to clean water. In some parts of the world, volcanic eruptions can tamper even the largest bodies of water. Hawaii is known for its volcanoes but it only has three active volcanoes on the island. Alaska, on the other hand, has more than 70 potentially active volcanoes throughout the state. Clearly, there are land volcanoes all over the world, but it’s the underwater eruptions that people have ignored — until now.
According to LiveScience, a strange seismic event off the coast of Africa has led scientist all over the world to a revolutionary finding: the discovery of the largest underwater volcanic eruption ever recorded.
Last November, in the Indian Ocean, a seismic hum rang at a single, ultraslow frequency and circled the globe. At the time, no one understood what caused this humming noise. There were barely any detectable “p-waves” or “s-waves,” which typically accompany earthquakes. This underwater eruption didn’t just produce a humming sound, however, it actually moved the entire island of Mayotte a few inches.
The seismic rumbles started on May 10, 2018. A few days later, on May 15, a magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck, causing hundreds more seismic rumbles and the Earth-rattling humming event.
“We have never seen anything like this,” said Nathalie Feuillet, who led an expedition to the underwater volcano.
It has yet to be determined if this volcano is new or if it has sat atop an older volcanic structure for years — geologists plan on continuing research to understand this historic event. Researchers can perform tests in underground tanks, which can typically last around 20 years depending on the construction, installation, and material conditions.
The French government is taking steps to ensure the safety of the residents of Mayotte, where tremors and sinking continue.
“The government is fully mobilized to deepen and continue understanding this exceptional phenomenon and take the necessary measures to better characterize and prevent the risks it would represent,” said Christophe Castaner, French Ministry of the Interior.
Off the coast of the island, fishermen have reported heaps of dead fish in the water as well as plumes of bubbles and heat rising from the underwater volcano. It’s estimated that at least five cubic kilometers of magma belched up from the ocean floor, making it the largest underwater eruption ever documented.
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