In March and April 2015, Michael and EPS graduate student Kristen Fauria joined the MESH science team (Mapping, Exploration and Sampling at Havre) to study the largest recorded submarine volcanic eruption in history. The Havre volcano is a submarine volcano located in the Kermadec Arc. In 2012 it erupted explosively, creating a large raft of floating pumice. The volume of erupted magma was a couple of cubic km. NSF funded the expedition to map (with the AUV Sentry) and collect samples (with the ROV Jason) to answer fundamental questions about how submarine eruptions work. The 2012 Havre eruption provided an unprecedented opportunity to study a large submarine silicic eruption shortly after eruption.
See MESH page for details and images from the expedition, some background, and a nice blog. Post-cruise we are working on understanding how hot pumice interacts with water, why it floats so long, characterizing the seismicity leading up to the eruption, modeling the cooling of the erupted lava domes, and measuring the rheology of the ash deposited on the seafloor.
Multibeam image of the Havre volcano.
Jason collecting samples from the seafloor (how was this photograph taken?). Jason collected samples at 290 locations.
There was an amazing amount of life near the seafloor.
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