Submersibles show that the debris left behind doesn’t tell the whole story
Univ. of Tasmania in Australia, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute
On July 31, 2012, Maggie de Grauw looked out the window of her flight back to New Zealand after a holiday in Samoa and glimpsed a mysterious mass floating below. That mass turned out to be a raft of lightweight pumice rock, the product of an erupting underwater volcano called Havre. The 2012 eruption turned out to be the largest of its kind in the last 100 years. And now, the pumice raft has become a crucial clue in revealing the eruption’s surprisingly complex nature.
Although underwater eruptions happen all the time, scientists have only recorded such events since the 1990s, and pumice rafts can often float under the radar. Typically, researchers use depth sensors aboard ships to examine