Growing at a rate of 20cm per day, a new volcano has been found under the ocean in the Samoan Island chain. Researchers say that the volcano has only sprung up in the last four years. Multibeam sound mapping alerted the scientists that the ocean was shallower in the region than when it was formerly explored in 2001. A manned probe then descended and found a newly formed volcanic cone with vigorous vents disturbing the water.
The volcano, called Nafuana after the Samoan goddess of war, is covered in microbes. It is also populated with scores of eels, all about 30cm long. The presence of such a big eel community will be a key research point in future. The volcano is growing fast enough that it could present a problem to ocean going vessels in the next few decades. Two expeditions to the volcano carried American and Australian oceanographers, as well as graduate, undergraduate and high school students.
A cruise website was created at http://earthref.org/ERESE/projects/ALIA.
This website contains videos and photos of the volcano and the research performed.