NASA captures from space a ‘sharkcano’, an erupting volcano in a shark zone

This is the Kavachi volcano, which is home to two species of shark in its crater.
The eruption of the Tonga volcano was audible at 10,000 kilometers.

Image of the eruption of the Kavachi volcano captured by NASA.

NASA’s Landsat-9 satellite has captured from space the eruptions of Kavachi, an active underwater volcano in the Solomon Islands, located in an area that has long been home to sharks, which is why it has baptized this phenomenon as ” sharkcano”, in a clear play on words in English of shark (shark) and volcano (volcano).

As NASA explains in a statement, Kavachi is “one of the most active submarine volcanoes in the Pacific” that entered an eruptive phase in October 2021.

“Satellite data showed discolored water around Kavachi for several days in April and May 2022,” NASA added, based on information provided by the Smithsonian’s Global Volcanism Program.

These discolored columns of water above the volcano would be telltale signs of volcanic activity that hint at multiple eruptions, NASA said.

It has been the official Twitter account of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center who has made the snapshot public: “You have heard of sharknado, now prepare for sharkcano,” they have written.

“The Kavachi volcano in the Solomon Islands is home to two species of sharks. It is also one of the most active underwater volcanoes in the Pacific,” NASA reports in that tweet.

Specifically, the image released was taken by the OLI-2 camera, aboard the Landsat-9 satellite, on May 14. As described by NASA, you can see “a column of discolored water emitted by the submarine volcano, which is located about 24 kilometers (15 miles) south of Vangunu Island.”

Complete image captured by NASA in which the eruption of the Kavachi submarine volcano can be seen in the lower right corner. NASA

Previous research by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) found that the volcano’s warm, acidic water plumes typically contain particulates, fragments of volcanic rock, and sulfur, an element that “attracts microbial communities that thrive on brimstone.”

Likewise, it was during an expedition to Kavachi carried out in 2015 that scientists were surprised to discover that the volcano’s crater is also home to two species of sharks: the hammerhead shark and the silky shark.

The following year, in 2016, the researchers published an article in the journal Oceanography titled ‘Exploring the Sharkcano’, where the experts wrote that this presence of sharks in the crater raises “new questions about the ecology of active submarine volcanoes and the environments.” extremes where large marine animals exist”.