PMEL Earth-Ocean Interactions Program logo National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory Earth-Ocean Interactions Program
2006 Videos: Ocean Explorer Return to the Mariana Arc
The edited video clips show highlights from Brimstone Pit dives with the JASON II remotely operated vehicle.
These movies are larger format versions (480 x 360) of the video clips available on the NOAA Ocean Exploration web site, along with images and logs from the expedition.

NW Rota 1-Brimstone Pit Eruption Videos
Brimsonte image 0  

During the first dive at NW Rota-1 volcano, a huge eruption plume covered the entire summit of the volcano and every time Jason approached the bottom it was caught in a white out. Apparently a major eruptive burst had just occurred. We were not able to approach Brimstone Pit until the following day when the smoke had cleared.
MB | Windows Media: 7.4 MB

Brimstone image 1   Jason II approaches Brimstone Pit for the first time during our 2006 expedition and finds that the south flank of the cone has completely fallen away. Only a remnant of the north wall remains. At first not much is happening at the vent, but gradually a degassing event starts releasing a huge number of bubbles (probably CO2).
Quicktime:20.7 MB | Windows Media: 7.8 MB
Brimstone image2   Five hours later, Jason II returns to Brimstone Pit to find that lava has been extruded from the vent and it is degassing intensely.
Quicktime:20.6 MB | Windows Media: 7.5 MB
Brimstone image 3   Jason II finds gas bubbles emitting directly from a fresh lava rock that we think was recently erupted from the Brimstone vent. During our visit the output of gases varied dramatically by the minute.
Quicktime:18.5 MB | Windows Media: 7.0 MB
Brimstone image 4   This appears to be lava in the act of erupting from Brimstone Pit. It is not glowing red, like in Hawaii, because this lava is more viscous - it is coming out very slowly and immediately forms a crust. But it is clearly degassing intensely, and small pieces of lava are spalling off as it expands. This looks very similar to the view when lava enters the ocean on the coast of Hawaii, even though the process is quite different here (and we are 560 meter underwater!).
Quicktime:19.2 MB | Windows Media: 7.1 MB
Brimstone image 5   When we returned to Brimstone Pit during Jason dive J2-189, we encountered a very dynamic and constantly changing site. We visited the site several times during the dive, and each time we saw a different style of activity. At first, we found that mild explosive activity at the vent was building a new cone of ash and rocks around the vent.
Quicktime:21.9 MB | Windows Media: 8.1 MB
Brimstone image 6   Later during Jason dive J2-189, while the pilots were trying to tend to a troublesome suction sampler, a large burst from Brimstone Pit (which clearly has two side-by-side eruptive vents) almost engulfs the vehicle in an ash plume.
Quicktime:21.3 MB | Windows Media: 8.2 MB
Brimstone image 7   Later, when Jason visited Brimstone again we found what we think were think lava flows that had overflowed the vent and flowed down the sides a short distance. The lava flows are degassing intensely with a combination of white sulfurous smoke and CO2 bubbles.
Quicktime:16.9 MB | Windows Media: 6.8 MB
Brimstone image 8   Still later, Brimstone Pit turned into a fireworks show with exploding rocks, bright yellow clouds jetting upward filled with droplets of molten sulfur, and thick streams of gas bubbles.
Quicktime:20.8 MB | Windows Media: 7.8 MB
Brimstone image 9   At the very end of Jason dive J2-189, we witnessed the most violent eruptions we have seen so far from Brimstone Pit. The spectacle is simply jaw dropping!
Quicktime:20.4 MB | Windows Media: 7.8 MB
Brimstone image 10   Eruptive activity waxed and waned during the time that Jason II was making visual observations at Brimstone Pit.
Quicktime:18.9 MB
Brimstone image 11   Jason II was able to make extended observations at Brimstone Pit during dive J2-192. The science team witnessed repeated pulses of lava rising in the vent that were initially crusted over but would quickly crack open and expel their molten contents. Violently expanding volcanic gases break apart and propel pieces of the lava crust in all directions.
Quicktime:21.1 MB | Windows Media: 8.0 MB
Brimstone image 12   This is the first time that glowing lava has ever been witnessed from a submarine volcanic eruption! In this case, the lava is rising in the vent so fast that a small glimpse of red glow can be seen intermittently before it crusts over or is blown apart. What a sight! Do you think the scientists were a little excited?
Voice-Quicktime:26.5 MB | Windows Media: 8.22 MB;
Hydrophone- 26.5 MB | Windows Media: 8.22 MB
Brimstone image 13   During eruptive pulses, the edge of the volcanic plume expanded and contracted very rapidly - almost vibrating - probably due to steam forming and condensing rhythmically around the hot erupting lava.
Quicktime:21.2 MB | Windows Media: 8.3 MB
Brimstone image 14   This is the largest explosive burst that we saw at Brimstone Pit during Jason dive J2-192. There were probably even larger bursts that we were not able to see, at times when the eruption plume was so extensive and thick that we could not get near the vent.
Voice-Quicktime:34.2 MB | Windows Media: 13.0 MB
Hydrophone-Quicktime: 34.2 MB | Windows Media: 8.22 MB
Brimstone image 15   At times, the eruptive vent at Brimstone Pit was pulsing so much from the rising lava and expanding gases that it looked like a seething caldron!
Quicktime:19.5 MB | Windows Media: 7.7 MB
Brimstone image 16   Chief Scientist Bob Embley summarizes our observations of eruptive activity at Brimstone Pit
Quicktime:14.8 MB