10 Incredible Underwater Volcanoes

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Image: Doc Searls

2. Morro Rock, CA

Morro Rock in California is part of a series of volcanic plugs known as the “Nine Sisters,” created over 20 million years ago. The explosion of a submarine volcano created Morro Rock, a giant piece of lava that, once in contact with the sea water, formed a solid crust and settled in the neck of the volcano, similar to a cork resting in the neck of a bottle. Champagne-like explosions are not to be expected as the volcano is not active any more. The rock was named “El Morro” (pebble) by Portuguese explorers in the 16th century when the volcano’s crater was still visible. Today, erosion is constantly shaping Morro Rock.


Image: Iceland Today, NASA EArth Observatory

3. Surtsey, Iceland

In some cases, volcanic eruptions form whole new islands, for example the island of Surtsey in Iceland.

Here’s the picture of the eruption of an underwater volcano (left) in November 1963 that started 130 m below sea level, and Surtsey today (right). The island, being the youngest, is the ideal study object for geologists, botanists and biologists and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Image: Calum Davidson

4. Eldfell Volcano, Heimaey Island, Iceland

Iceland is a country that sees sporadic underwater volcanic eruptions. Heimaey, the largest island of the Vestmannaejyar archipelago, had its most spectacular volcanic activity in 1973, when lava from the Eldfell (Mountain of Fire) volcano threatened to block Heimaey’s harbour. The volcano, here seen in the northeast of the island, clearly just looks like the tip of the iceberg – or rather volcano – leaving one to speculate how much more lies beneath.

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