A massive seismic event that activated in May 2018 and is no longer perceptible after that has revealed the creation of a new underwater volcano, revealed a study by French researchers and published August 26 in the scientific journal Nature Geoscience.
Telescopic activity began on May 10, 2018 near the French island of Mayotte in western Madagascar, and resulted in an earthquake measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale on May 15. Although experts were initially unaware of the nature of the seismic activity, a volcanic event was detected, which the researchers describe as the “largest eruption ever recorded”.
By tracing their signals to an area located 50 kilometers from the east coast of the island of Mayotte, scientists have discovered a new seamount that rises 820 meters above the ocean floor. In order to find out the process of its formation, a map was made of an area of 8,600 square kilometers, and it was monitored by a network of seismographs located on the sea floor.
Between February 25 and May 6, 2019, 17,000 seismic events were detected there, 20-50 kilometers below the ocean floor. Data on this activity, too deep for most earthquakes, allowed scientists to recreate the new volcano, the formation of which can be attributed to magma deposits in the asthenosphere.
Since tectonic processes may have cracked the lithosphere, the lava in the reservoir may have risen to the sea floor, where 5 cubic kilometers of lava was expelled, resulting in the formation of the volcano.
“The volumes and flows of lava expelled during the magmatic event are comparable to those observed during eruptions from the largest hotspots on Earth,” the researchers say.
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