This is a video of an undersea eruption near Tonga.
From World Science:
Expedition to bursting, undersea volcano yields marvels
May 5, 2009
Courtesy National Science Foundation and World Science staff
Scientists who have just returned from an expedition to an erupting undersea volcano near the Island of Guam report that the volcano seems to be continuously active, has grown considerably in the past three years, and its activity supports a unique biological community thriving despite the eruptions.
An international science team on the expedition, funded by the National Science Foundation, captured dramatic new information about the eruptive activity of NW Rota-1.
This video is called Submarine Ring of Fire 2006: NW Rota1 Brimstone Pit Erupting.
“This research allows us, for the first time, to study undersea volcanoes in detail and close up,” said Barbara Ransom, program director in the National Science Foundation’s Division of Ocean Sciences, which funded the research. “NW Rota-1 remains the only place on Earth where a deep submarine volcano has ever been directly observed while erupting.” …
Animals in this unusual ecosystem include shrimp, crab, limpets and barnacles, some of which are new species. “They’re specially adapted to their environment,” said Chadwick, “and are thriving in harsh chemical conditions that would be toxic to normal marine life. Life here is actually nourished by the erupting volcano.”
Verena Tunnicliffe, a biologist from the University of Victoria, Canada, said that most of the animals are dependent on diffuse hot-water venting that provides basic food in the form of bacterial filaments coating the rocks. “It appears that since 2006 the diffuse venting has spread and, with it, the vent animals,” Tunnicliffe said. There are profuse populations of shrimp on the volcano, with two species able to cope with the volcanic conditions, she added.
“The ‘Loihi’ shrimp has adapted to grazing the bacterial filaments with tiny claws like garden shears,” said Tunnicliffe. “The second shrimp is a new species—they also graze as juveniles, but as they grow to adult stage, their front claws enlarge and they become predators.” The Loihi shrimp was previously known only from a small active volcano near Hawaii, far away. It survives on the fast-growing bacteria and tries to avoid the hazards of the volcanic eruptions. Clouds of these shrimp were seen fleeing volcanic bursts, researchers said.
The other species attacks the Loihi shrimp and preys on marine life that wanders too close to the volcanic plumes and dies. “We saw dying fish, squid, etc., raining down onto the seamount, where they were jumped on by the volcano shrimp,” Tunnicliffe said.
NW Rota-1 provides a one-of-a-kind natural laboratory for the investigation of undersea volcanic activity and its relation to chemical-based ecosystems at underwater vents, where some biologists think life on Earth originated.
“It is unusual for a volcano to be continuously active, even on land,” Chadwick pointed out.
“This presents us with a fantastic opportunity to learn about processes we’ve never been able to directly observe before,” he said. “When volcanoes erupt in shallow water they can be extremely hazardous, creating huge explosions and even tsunamis. But here, we can safely observe an eruption in the deep ocean and learn valuable lessons about how lot lava and seawater interact.” …
Ocean acidification is a serious concern because of human-induced carbon dioxide accumulating in the atmosphere. “Submarine volcanoes are places where we can study how animals have adapted to very acidic conditions,” Chadwick said.
Blog of this expedition: here.
Unique and new species thriving around erupting undersea volcano: here.
The Remarkable Life of William Beebe: Explorer and Naturalist: here.