Huge undersea volcano found off Indonesia
A volcano that towers 3000 metres above the sea floor, yet remains hidden beneath the waves, has been found off the coast of Indonesia by a US-Indonesia joint expedition.
The volcano was found off the island of Sulawesi and has been named Kawio Barat. It is unclear whether it is active.
“This is a huge undersea volcano, taller than all but three or four mountains in Indonesia,” the expedition’s US chief Jim Holden said in an official statement.
Indonesia sits on the Ring of Fire, a strip of volcanoes and seismically-active regions that runs around the Pacific Ocean, so it is not surprising that its sea floors are dotted with volcanoes.
Last May, the country’s Antara news service reported the discovery of a volcano 4600 metres tall - half as tall again as Kawio Barat - on the sea floor off the west coast of Sumatra. Some geologists questioned the claim, pointing out that there had been no previous signs of volcanic activity in the area.
The current expedition, NOAA Ocean Explorer, is studying the deep ocean using powerful sonar and an underwater robot equipped with high-definition video, the Guardian notes.
AP reports that they have mapped 6200 square kilometres of seafloor in their first month, and will continue their voyage until 14 August.