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Robots map largest underwater volcanic eruption in 100 years

Submersibles show that the debris left behind doesn’t tell the whole story

By
7:00am, January 25, 2018
Havre volcanic edifice

POOF  Most of the debris from the 2012 eruption of Havre (shown), a deep-sea volcano near New Zealand, ended up in a pumice raft that floated across the South Pacific.

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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

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