Underwater volcanoes or submarine volcanoes are more active than volcanoes found on earth. They go unnoticed because they erupt below the surface and we rarely hear about these explosions but submarine volcanoes are exploding all the time, creating new islands and restructuring the earth. These volcanoes form ridges that are part of the tallest mountain ranges on earth, dwarfing even the Himalayas. But because most of it is underwater all we see are little volcanic hills. Let’s take a look at the top 10 underwater volcanoes from around the world.
Sumatra in Indonesia is the sixth largest island in the world. The western Indonesian area is formed by a long chain of underwater mountains. There are a total of 90 volcanoes there, 15 of which are active. Seismic activity in these volcanoes was responsible for the tsunami of 2004 which hit Asia and devastated land as far as India.
Yasur Volcano forms the Tannu island of Vanuatu. This volcano has been active for the last 800 years and it keeps erupting frequently. The first explosion was recorded in 1774. Volcanic eruption leads to seismic activity followed by clouds of smoke and volcanic ash. At night the orange plumes of lava are clearly visible against the dark.
Eldfell Volcano on the Heimaey island of Iceland is located over the Atlantic ridge where the European and American plates meet each other. As a result it has been the location of many volcanic eruptions. This volcano is 600 feet high and the small town sits in its shadow. The sudden volcanic eruption of 1973 caused a lot of destruction in this area.
In the Caribbean sea, 8 km north of Grenada, there is an active underwater volcano named Kick ’em Jenny. This is an active volcano and has erupted 12 times between 1939 and 2001. There is a 5 km safety zone that is in place to protect adventurous snorkelers and divers to dive in this area.
Brothers Volcano is located 400 km northwest of New Zealand. It is a part of the Kermadec Arc. It lies 1,850 meters below sea level. What’s unique about this particular underwater volcano is its massive size. The crater is 3km wide and the walls around the crater are 300 to 500 meters high. They were formed by the explosion that occurred around 51,000 years ago.
Iwo Jima in the Pacific Ocean is part of a volcanic ridge and there are active underwater volcanoes in this area. The Japanese army reported an underwater eruption in 2005 when they noticed a 1 km long column of steam coming out of the water near the island.
All of Hawaii is formed of underwater volcanoes. The whole area is located on a ridge of underwater volcanoes, some of which are still active and some are dormant. Molokini crater is a crescent shaped island today but used to be a large and powerful volcano at one time. Today it is popular with snorkelers and divers.
Kolumbo volcano lies 8 km northeast of Cape Kolumbo, Santorini island in the Aegean Sea. It is one of the largest underwater volcanoes in the world that is still active today. Although it is active there hasn’t been a major eruption in recent years. Small releases of gases and lava do occur continuously.
Barren island is located in the Andaman Sea and is the largest active underwater volcano in South Asia. Most of the volcano lies underwater but the peak rises above the water to form an island and the peak is 354 meters above the sea level. The first recorded eruption took place in 1787 and since then the volcano has erupted 6 times.
Hunga Tonga is about 30 km from Falcon island and lies above a very active tectonic region which has resulted in many underwater volcanoes and eruptions. The volcano lies between New Zealand and Fiji. The first ever eruption that was noted here was in 1912. The recent eruption of 2009 was a big one.