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Smoke and Sulfur: Undersea Vehicle Captures Footage of Volcanic Eruption

May 29, 2006

Dramatic new video of a long-term volcanic eruption in the western Pacific first discovered in 2004 has been captured during a recent cruise by the remotely operated vehicle JASON, developed and operated by WHOI’s Deep Submergence Laboratory. The ROV, capable of reaching depths to 6,500 meters (21,385 feet), is part of the U.S. National Deep Submergence Facility, also operated by WHOI for the American ocean research community. Brimstone Pit, a hydrothermal vent nearly 2,000 feet below the surface about 40 miles northwest of the Mariana Islands, was visited in April and May as part of a NOAA-led expedition.  A paper in the May 25 issue of Nature reports findings from two earlier expeditions to Brimstone Pit.