Scientists captured video evidence of sharks living in a volcano. The scientists dropped a camera into the main crater of the volcano Kavachi, located in the Solomon Islands. Kavachi was not actively erupting when the team captured the footage, but to be safe, they only left the camera in the underwater crater for an hour.
The water inside the crater is hot, acidic, and clouded with sediment, making the inside of a volcano an unlikely place for marine life. Scientists worldwide were shocked when the footage inside Kavachi captured two different species of sharks. Silky sharks and Hammerhead sharks were both recorded swimming in the crater. The video also recorded jellyfish, snappers, and a stingray living in the crater.
Shark scientists plan to tag one of these sharks living in a volcano in the future to learn more about their habits. No one knows what happens to the sharks when the volcano is actively erupting. It could be the case that they sense an imminent eruption and temporarily leave. Or, perhaps the sharks blow up when the volcano does.
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The team returned to Kavachi during an active eruption to gather more data about the volcano. They made cheap robots out of used PVC pipe and a few hundred dollars of electronic equipment and then dropped them over the volcano. While they didn’t see any sharks in Kavachi during the eruption, they collected more data.
They found that near the undersea vent, surface water temperatures were 10℃ (50ºF) higher than normal. The scientists also found that the pH of the surface water was significantly lower than normal, meaning that the ocean water near the vent is very acidic. The team also discovered a unique means of collecting rock samples when an eruption forced pieces of volcanic material into their robot.