While the general perception associates calamities with destruction, some examples point the other way and prove that disasters can create too. In May 2018, the world witnessed the world’s largest eruption of buildings, peaking at over 800 meters and spanning a diameter of 5 kilometers. The eruption of this huge volcano is the result of strong seismic activities ranging from a magnitude of 3.5 to 5.8. The earthquakes and the resulting building were observed by the Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières (BRGM), France. The eruption is located about 50 kilometers east of the coast of Mayotte, a French archipelago located between Madagascar and Mozambique.
The sighting involved a set of seismometers and multibeam sonar that acted as eyes and ears under the ocean containing the volcano. The link between the devices has given surprising results. Generally, seismic activity under the ocean occurs at shallow depths. However, the eruptions caused between May 2018 and May 2019 were 48 kilometers below the ocean floor, a very unusual depth for seismic activity.
Did you know that this is the largest underwater eruption ever documented? Indeed, this newborn volcano in the Mozambique Channel released a volume of at least 5 km3 of lava over a period of 11 months! pic.twitter.com/40Pv5qt9Mo– SeaExplorer Glider (@SeaExplorerUUV) September 27, 2021
BRGM researchers believe that the earthquakes occurred at the border between the earth’s crust and mantle, leading to the formation of the volcano. It is believed that the volcano’s reservoir of magma originated from the molten mantle layer of the earth.
According to the BRGM press release, the area witnessed a total of 1,800 tremors resulting from damage to the lithosphere (the brittle crust) leading to the suction of magma from the reservoir. The magma made its way to the seabed and produced lava, which then ended up in the volcano.
The movement of tectonic plates and underwater seismic activities have always fascinated scientists and researchers around the world. This new development and the discovery of an underwater volcano have brought new knowledge about the underwater tremors paradigm.