Most of the earth’s volcanoes are underwater. For the first time, using the submersible remotely operated vehicle Jason II, scientists have observed an actual eruption. They were able to move close to the vent, mainly because the physical conditions are so different than on land:
If we were observing this type of eruptive activity on land we would have to run for our lives! At Brimstone Pit the pressure of 560 meters (1837 feet) of water over the site reduces the power of the explosive bursts. Also, the water quickly slows down the rocks and ash that are violently thrown out of the vent.
The rocks formed by submarine eruptions have distinctive characteristics that usually make them easy to distinguish in the field from rocks that were formed on the land. Study of these submarine volcanic environments could lead to a better understanding of how certain types of mineral deposits form.
Image and quote from Submarine Ring of Fire 2006 Exploration, NOAA Vents Program
Jason II also captured video of the eruption.
For a news article: Underwater Volcano Erupts on Video.
Thanks to Bill M. for the link to the video.
Grace and Peace