National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce

Underwater Fire: Exploring Tonga's submarine volcanoes

newly discovered hydrothermal vent from this expedition
January 04, 2018

EOI Scientists recently completed a 2-part expedition aboard R/V Falkor in the NE Lau Basin in the SW Pacific, one of the most volcanically and tectonically active parts of the planet (November 10 - December 18, 2017). Leg 1 included CTD casts and tows to locate hydrothermal plumes and the AUV Sentry made dives to collect high-resolution bathymetry. Leg 2 returned with ROV SuBastian on board to make dives at a 11 different submarine volcanoes in the area.  Findings include detecting a wide range of eruption styles, observing some of the rarest rock types on Earth, exploring the largest known dacite lava flow on our planet, and discovering three new hydrothermal venting sites. Read more about the expedition at Schmidt Ocean Institute’s web site.

SOI provided the ship and support for this expedition. Additional support is provided by NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration.