NASA satellite captures spectacular images of a submarine volcano
Kaitoku, a triple-peaked seamount located north of Iwo Jima, Japan, lies approximately 100 meters (300 feet) beneath the ocean's surface. One of the three underwater volcanic peaks - the easternmost one - is currently active. In August 2022, satellite images revealed signs of renewed activity, which were later verified by the Japan Coast Guard.
According to NASA Earth Observatory, the activity continued through December 2022 and into the new year. Images captured by the agency's Landsat 8 satellite on January 3, 2023 show plumes of discoloured water emanating from a vent on the underwater seamount.
Research into submarine volcanoes in this area indicates that the discoloured patch may contain extremely hot acidic seawater with particles, volcanic rock pieces, and sulfur.
These swirls of discolored water are signs that Kaitoku, a triple-peaked submarine volcano north of Io Jima, is active. 🌊🌋@NASA’s #Landsat 8 satellite captured these images on Jan. 3, 2023. Activity started in August 2022 has continued periodically. https://t.co/nsEDoCBonP pic.twitter.com/8REbA4bFUB— NASA Earth (@NASAEarth) January 15, 2023
Earth is home to an estimated 25 million seamounts, or underwater mountains created by volcanic activity, with Kaitoku being just one of them. While a vast majority of these peaks are inactive, the active ones represent a large fraction of total volcanic activity, with geologists estimating that up to 80 percent of the planet's eruptive activity happens in oceans.