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Underwater Volcano: Where are They Exist?

by Jane Sophia
Underwater Volcano, NOAA

Get to know of an underwater volcano that exit in various deep seas and oceans spread across several countries and continents.

Thus far, we have often heard or read about volcanoes that we can see their eruption when they are active. Even extinct (not active anymore) are significant tourist attractions.

However, we hardly know about an underwater volcano because the print media and digital media do not often report it.

It may surprise you to know that there are more than a million ‘seamounts’ (synonym for volcanoes) in the world. I think there are not that many volcanoes (both active and extinct) on the earth’s ground surface.

Another interesting fact about those submarine volcanoes is roughly about seventy-five thousands of them protrude above the depth of the ocean’s floor up to nearly 1 km!

underwater volcanoes

      Rebecca Carey, University of Tasmania/Adam Soule

When you read about these little known but interesting facts about an underwater volcano, your mind would ask several questions such as:

  • Do these underwater volcanoes erupt molten rock similar to the volcanoes on the ground?
  • Where are these submarine volcanoes with volcanic activity?
  • Which is the largest of these subterranean volcanoes and where it located?
  • Is it possible to see an underwater volcano?

Let me try to satisfy your curiosity from what I learned from several resources on the web.

Underwater volcano eruption

An underwater volcano also erupts but certainly different than a surface volcano. Since the water instantly extinguishes the fire that spewed out of the volcano’s crater, there won’t be any organised scare fatality to the humans, but I believe marine life would be affected.

Besides, surely there would be geological changes due to movements of tectonic plates underneath the surface of the ground.

Which is the largest underwater volcano in the world?

Tamu Massif seamount is said to be the largest of all the underwater volcanoes. However, it is an active volcano.

It is located on the seas of Japan, somewhere in the northwest Pacific Ocean. Japan’s coast is still a 1600 km away from Tamu Massif underwater volcano.

How massive is this Tamu Massif submarine volcano?

You can’t visualise its enormity folks! It comprises an area of a mind-boggling 550 thousand sq.km!

Some salient facts of Tamu Massif underwater volcano:

  • Its total height under the water is about 14000 feet!
  • Even to reach its surface, you may have to dive as far as 6500 feet!

Some of the names of underwater volcanoes in the world and their location  found below.

Underwater Volcano

It will make an interesting study if you love the mysteries of our Universe.

Remember, the underwater volcanoes are also called ‘seamounts’.

  1. Asphalt volcano is located in the Gulf of Mexico.
  2. Explorer Seamount found in Canada.
  3. Brothers Volcano located in New Zealand. There are more underwater volcanoes in New Zealand.
  4. In the Philippines,  a submarine volcano called Didicas.
  5. Off the shores of White Island, New Zealand, Pacific Ocean Underwater Volcano located.
  6. It seems the mighty Pacific Ocean is the host of several submarine volcanoes. Here is one more: Adams Seamount off the coast of Pitcairn Island in the central Pacific Ocean.
  7. Another Pacific Ocean underwater volcano is Axial Seamount. It  found under the waters of North Pacific’s Oregon State of the United States os America. Two exciting features of Axial Seamount are it’s a rectangular (usually circular) shaped crater, and several smaller submarine volcanoes surround the larger Axial Seamount.
  8. Here is another seamount in the Pacific Ocean. To be more accurate, it is North Pacific, buddy, close to San Pedro, Los Angeles, California. If you are a deep-sea diver, you can touch this underwater volcano called ‘Cortes Bank’ after travelling in a boat for 155 km from San Pedro’s port. You can also go to San Clemente Island first and then take a catamaran to cover a distance of 75 km. It will be your diving spot to go underwater and see the Cortes Bank submarine volcano.
  9. Next to New Zealand, Indonesia and Hawaii are the places where more than one underwater volcanoes exit. A seamount called Banua Wuhu seen off the coast of Sangihe Islands of Indonesia.

More of the list

  1. Have you heard about Vanatau Island, a real paradise on the South Pacific? These beautiful islands are ‘overseas territory’ of France and are a significant diving spot in this region. Vanuatu archipelago comprises of 80 islands and islets. An underwater volcano called Kuwae seen located between two Vanatau Islands named Epi and Tongoa.
  2. Ah, the Caribbean Islands-world’s most visited summer vacation destination! Located very close to the Caribbean Islands of Grenada is a submarine volcano called “Kick ’em Jenny”. A peculiar name for an underwater volcano-right? Its measurable height is 4300 feet jutting above the seafloor.
  3. The famous Italian Island of Sicily (famous for the surface volcano “Mount Etna”) is home to Campi Flegrei del Mar di Sicilia, a series of several underwater volcanoes.
  4. How can we ignore Greece, home to nearly 6000 islands out of which less than 100 are inhabited? Admittedly, these 6000 islands and islets on the Mediterranean and Agean Seas must contain numerous hidden natural mysteries. Underwater is an inherent mystery. Of all the Greek Islands, Santorini occupies a big, dark spot on the tourist radar. Off the coast of Santorini, a seamount called Kolumbo an extinct underwater volcano.
  5. Sicily is also home to another underwater volcano called “Empedocles”.
  6. “Healy” is the second submarine volcano in New Zealand. It  located off the coast of Kermadec Islands. It is not active now.

Can we see any of these underwater volcanoes? If so, there must be a few organized submarine expeditions arranged by National Geographic. I am not sure; I presume it is the only travel agency that is capable of organizing an expedition to underwater volcanoes.

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