Massive seismic activity that began in May 2018 and was felt around the world has spawned a new submarine volcano. The massive new structure rises 820 meters (2,690 feet) from the seabed off the east coast of Mayotte, which surfaced after an earthquake that rocked the island in May 2018.
Researchers are using this new feature, which is likely part of a tectonic structure between the East African and Madagascan faults, to better understand Inner Earth mechanisms about which very little is known.
The thud of the continuous event began on May 10, 2018. A magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck a few days later on May 15, shaking the surrounding island.
Scientists were previously baffled, but it didn’t take too long to realize that a massive volcanic eruption had taken place, unlike anything that had ever been observed. The readings indicated a location about 50 kilometers off Mayotte, a French province located in the volcanic islands of the Comoros located both between the east coast of Africa and the northern part of Madagascar.
The discovery was made by a team of researchers led by geophysicist Nathalie Feuillet from the University of Paris in France. In February 2019, the team began investigating the area. The researchers also installed a series of seismometers on the seabed, reaching depths of up to 3.5 kilometers, and merged the results with seismic readings from Mayotte.
Photo courtesy: ScienceAlert
This technology observed 17,000 seismic occurrences between February 25 and May 6, 2019, at depths ranging from 20 to 50 km below the water surface.
It all started with a lava pool buried deep in the asthenosphere, the warm layer of the mantle just below the earth’s lithosphere. Damage to the lithosphere may have resulted from underlying tectonic forces, resulting in dikes that flowed from a source through the crust, causing waves of earthquakes. These sediments then spread to the seabed, where they erupted, causing 5 cubic kilometers of magma and the creation of a new volcano.
The Mayotte eruption is the largest underwater seismic explosion in history. The total volume of the new volcanic structure is between 30 and 1,000 times greater than previous eruptions in the high seas, according to estimates from May 2019.