This July 4th please enjoy the Explosions of the Ocean

Tomorrow is July 4th. And to celebrate our independence from those tea-taxing-without-representation-people-across-the-pond we Americans will be engaging in our ceremonial blowing up of the stuff. In honor of We the people of the United States igniting any pyrotechnic we can lay our hands on, I bring you THE EXPLOSIONS OF THE OCEAN. All these explosions are natural, caused by the fury of subsea volcanic activity.

Let’s start with the volcano-ocean interaction that has the most paparazzi. Very conveniently, at the base of Hawaii’s Kīlauea volcano, lava flows into the ocean at a site that is easily accessible by car or by boat, attracting hoards of tourists every year. When that super hot lava flows into the cold, cold Pacific, BOOM! Water, rocks and possibly a careless tourist all can be thrown into the air. Check it out in this video with amazingly appropriate Independence day music.

Sparklers. Mostly safe fun for everyone. How can you dislike them? Clearly these scientists love them too. The ooohing and ahhing clearly indicates deep sea explosive degassing events thrills them.

Now, enjoy the mellow billowing of giant ash and sulfur clouds from this deep sea pit. Good thing scientists sent down the ROV to check it out, because I imagine floating next you would feel like you were getting pelted with stinky dusty rotten eggs.

All mature volcanos were once baby volcanos. But unlike baby chicks ready to hatch from the eggs, these volcano hatchlings are anything but precious. More like scary, angry, potentially deadly, exploding birdzillas. RUN AWAY.

And for the grand finale, the ocean gives you confetti.  Some undersea volcano gets all excited and starts violently exploding creating pumice, the rock that is lighter than water because of all the air bubbles in it. And just like real confetti, I am sure that millions of tiny floating rocks are really annoying to clean up too.

The ocean burps confetti. [CREDIT: New Zealand Defense Force]

Kim Martini (87 Posts)

Kim is a Physical Oceanographer at the Joint Institute for the Study of Atmosphere and Ocean at the University of Washington. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Washington in 2010. Her goal in life is to throw expensive s**t in the ocean. When not at sea, she uses observations from moored, satellite and land-based instruments to understand the pathways that wind and tidal energy take from large (internal tides) to small scales (turbulence).





,
One comment on “This July 4th please enjoy the Explosions of the Ocean
  1. Thanks for the fun and fantastic clips of the power and beauty of ‘mother nature’!

    Though, in the first clip the piccolo almost overpowers the plume. :-)

Comments are closed.