How do volcanoes form on the ocean floor?

Thursday 20 January 2022

Many volcanoes are underwater, but we don't usually know much about them. Learn the causes of the formation and eruption of volcanoes on the ocean floor.


When volcanoes erupt, they attract the attention of the whole world, but the most powerful volcanic activity continues under the sea. In mid-January, a terrifying volcano erupted on the seabed near the southern Pacific island nation of Tonga, drawing the world's attention to underwater volcanoes.

According to Christoph Halo, a volcanologist at the University of Mainz in Germany, "two-thirds of volcanic activity takes place in the oceans."

The eruption near Tonga triggered a tsunami in several parts of the country's capital. But such explosions usually happen and do not make much difference to human life. "Most of the volcanic eruptions on our planet don't affect us," says Hello. It boils silently and no one knows. "

How many volcanoes are there under the sea? There is no answer to this question. However, according to Thamesin Mathur, a professor of geological sciences at the University of Oxford, their numbers could range from hundreds to thousands.

How do underwater volcanoes form?

According to Professor Hello, there is no significant difference between the causes of volcanoes on the surface of the earth or the surface of the ocean. When the second boiling layer inside the earth melts the rocks, that is, the solid part of the earth's surface, then the melting lava starts coming out.

Professor Mathur says that most underwater volcanoes are near the shores of different large seas, where two tectonic plates press against each other.

The collision of two geological plates creates a volcano. If these plates are found in the ocean these days, then volcanoes are formed in the ocean. Professor Hello also says that a volcanic eruption in a single tectonic plate could lead to the creation of a new volcano.

What happens when an underwater volcano erupts?

The effects of a volcanic eruption are related to how far the volcano is from sea level. If the distance between the erupting volcano and the sea level is greater, then the water at the top of the volcano acts as a lid.

Geologist David Pyle says that if a piece of molten rock is two kilometers below sea level, it will cool rapidly as soon as it touches the cold water of the ocean, whereas instead, the water will become hot. But it will not become steam.

However, they say that if the volcanic activity is very large and the water turns into steam, then even a small amount of water can be converted into steam to increase its volume many times over. According to Professor Pyle of Oxford University, "Steam explosions are very destructive because a small volume of water causes a very large volume of steam."

He said that even if the dangers of the tsunami were put aside, the ash from the sea could have a detrimental effect on human health.

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