Sophie Tedmanson reports for the Times:
Scientists have filmed a volcanic eruption 4,000ft (1,220m) under the sea causing molten lava to flow across the deep ocean floor.
The incredible footage, recorded by a submersible robot, shows the exact moment that a deep-sea volcano erupts from the ocean floor, sending an explosion of bright red lava bubbles and plumes of smoke-like sulphur through the water.
The eruption of the West Mata volcano was filmed by US scientists in May during an underwater expedition south of Samoa. It is the deepest erupting volcano to be discovered.
“It was an underwater Fourth of July,” said Bob Embley, a marine geologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which ran the expedition with the US National Science Foundation.
“Since the water pressure at that depth suppresses the violence of the volcano’s explosions, we could get the underwater robot within feet of the active eruption.”
The lava froze almost instantly as it hit the cold sea water, causing black rock to sink to the sea floor. The robot hovered near the blasts, collecting lava samples and recording the explosive noises as they rocked the seabed.
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