Fast and destructive density currents created by ocean-entering volcanic eruptions.

TitleFast and destructive density currents created by ocean-entering volcanic eruptions.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsClare, MA, Yeo, IA, Watson, S, Wysoczanski, R, Seabrook, S, Mackay, K, Hunt, JE, Lane, E, Talling, PJ, Pope, E, Cronin, S, Ribó, M, Kula, T, Tappin, D, Henrys, S, de Ronde, C, Urlaub, M, Kutterolf, S, Fonua, S, Panuve, S, Veverka, D, Rapp, R, Kamalov, V, Williams, M
Date Published2023 Sep 08

Volcanic eruptions on land create hot and fast pyroclastic density currents, triggering tsunamis or surges that travel over water where they reach the ocean. However, no field study has documented what happens when large volumes of erupted volcanic material are instead delivered directly into the ocean. We show how the rapid emplacement of large volumes of erupted material onto steep submerged slopes triggered extremely fast (122 kilometers per hour) and long-runout (>100 kilometers) seafloor currents. These density currents were faster than those triggered by earthquakes, floods, or storms, and they broke seafloor cables, cutting off a nation from the rest of the world. The deep scours excavated by these currents are similar to those around many submerged volcanoes, providing evidence of large eruptions at other sites worldwide.

Alternate JournalScience
PubMed ID37676954