Rare images of a remote sub-Antarctic volcano erupting

Australia's only volcano cluster has erupted emitting vapour from the summit and spilling lava over a glacier

CSIRO scientists surveying underwater volcanoes around Heard Island in the Antarctic were able to record a video of the Big Ben volcano erupting. In total, the volcanoes have erupted three times in the past 15 years.

A picture of one of the Big Ben volcano's rare eruptions, captured by the scientific crew aboard the research vessel - the Investigator. Now, scientists on board Australia's CSIRO research vessel, Investigator, on a voyage to the Kerguelen Plateau were lucky enough to observe the eruption from up close.

Mike Coffin, the chief scientist of the expedition and a geophysicist and a professor at the University of Tasmania Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, said it was an incredible moment when they suddenly witnessed vapor coming out from Mawson Peak and other active Australian volcanoes.

Eruptions are usually only seen by satellite due to the remote location of the volcano, so to see this is very rare indeed. "We have 10 excited geoscientists aboard Investigator, and our enthusiasm has spread to our 50 shipmates".

Heard Island, as well as its neighboring McDonald Islands, can be found around 4,100 kilometers (2,548 miles) southwest of the Australian city of Perth and around 1,750 kilometers (1,087 miles) north of Davis Station, the country's base in the Antarctic.

Big Ben located on the remote sub Antarctic Heard Island is the highest mountain on Australian territory and has erupted just three times since 2000
Big Ben located on the remote sub Antarctic Heard Island is the highest mountain on Australian territory and has erupted just three times since 2000

Mawson Peak - the highest point on Big Ben, one of the volcanoes - erupted, oozing lava down its glaciated side.

The expedition hopes to prove that the iron extruded by the plumes exerts an influence on phytoplankton blooms. Because phytoplankton contribute at least half of the atmosphere's oxygen, it's important to know what controls it. Eruptions of Big Ben date back to 1881. "Given persistent cloud cover and generally foul weather, I didn't think we'd even see Mawson Peak on this voyage".

 

Big Ben is a volcanic massif in an Australian territory in the southern Indian Ocean.

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