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Deep-Ocean Volcanoes

2 minutes

(Describer) Under a round logo of a wave, title: Ocean Today.

(Describer) An animation of lava cracks in rock opens to reveal a real scene of plumes and bursts of fire underwater. Title: Deep-Ocean Volcanoes.

(Describer) On land, orange lava gushes and splashes.

(female narrator) Scientists believe that 80% of the volcanic eruptions on Earth take place in the ocean.

(Describer) An animated view dives underwater.

Most of these volcanoes are thousands of feet deep and difficult to find, but in May of 2009, scientists captured the deepest ocean eruption ever found. Nearly 4,000 feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, in an area between Samoa, Fiji, and Tonga, the West Mata volcano was discovered. The explosions of molten rock were spectacular. This volcano was produced in boninite lavas, believed to be among the hottest erupting on Earth. Scientists also witnessed molten lava flowing across the deep ocean seafloor and spotted shrimp living near the volcano's most active areas. This research allows us to closely examine how ocean islands and undersea volcanoes are born. It may also shed light on how heat and matter transfer from the earth's interior to the surface, and how life adapts to some of the harshest conditions on our planet.

(Describer) A crab crawls with the shrimp.

Finding West Mata was a huge break for scientists and for those interested in seeing what takes place in the deepest depths of our ocean.

(Describer) Titles: Ocean Today has been brought to you by the Smithsonian Institution in collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Accessibility provided by the US Department of Education.

Accessibility provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

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Scientists believe that 80 percent of the volcanic eruptions on Earth take place in the ocean. Most of these volcanoes are thousands of feet deep and difficult to find. In May of 2009, scientists captured the deepest ocean eruption ever found. Nearly 4000 feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, the West Mata volcano was discovered.

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