Attention: volcanic eruption

A long expected volcanic eruption has finally taken place. For some years scientists predicted that the volcanoes in the source field of the Pacific ridge at 9°50' N would become active. Sometime during late 2005/2006, this prediction was dramatically proved correct. The lava buried important scientific instruments, which collected data for long-term observations. This loss was actually the reason that drew the scientist’s attention to the eruption. Supported by the US National Science Foundation, scientists got on their way in May 2006. They had just a few days to take pictures of the fresh lava in 2500 meters water depth and to conduct important measurements.

The collected information was passed on to the world public and led to an expedition in June 2006 with the submersible Alvin on board of the Atlantis. Though they had only few dives, scientists were able to observe the impacts of a massive volcanic eruption for the first time. The caldera (crater of volcano) has completely changed its appearance. Old, and familiar, hot and warm hydrothermal vents were gone and new had emerged from the Earth’s crust at other sites. All of the former life was destroyed. Just a few vagile (free to move) organisms, like crabs, were to be found. Because of this important eruption we go funded by the Austrian Science Fund to go there and study the colonization and change in diversity of animals over a period of several years.