By : Macy Booth

Swinford, 8th Grade, Independent Study.

What Are Submarine Volcanoes?

Submarine Volcanoes are volcanoes that are underwater. They are also known as Underwater Volcanoes or Volcanic Vents. Submarine Volcanoes are not commonly known among people, which is ironic considering these Volcanic Vents release nearly 75% of all annual magma output in the world. Submarine Volcanoes differ from other volcanoes in the sense that their locations are dramatically different. However, how these volcanoes form is not different. Submarine Volcanoes form just like any other volcanoes. Magma begins to heat up and run through the crust trying to find an immediate escape. One it does it erupts form the volcano. What happens from there is the interesting part.

All the Moving Parts

The following diagram shows all the different parts of a Submarine Volcano.

1. The water vapor cloud is the most common type of volcanic gas. Water Vapor will come from a Volcano shortly before it is set to erupt.

2. The water surrounding the volcano plays an important role because it changes the process the magma goes through when it spews out.

3. The stratum is the layer of rock surrounding the volcano. This is where the volcano gets it's shape from. This can change frequently (because as we know our world is constantly changing).

4. The lava flow occurs during the eruption period. As the flow starts so does our volcanic process.

5. The magma comes from a long channel called the magma conduit. This is what the magma travels through to get to the hole.

6. All this magma has to come from somewhere. This somewhere is called the magma chamber. The magma chamber stores all the magma that is ready to move from it's current position.

7. Dikes are made of igneous rock or sedimentary rock. Igneous rock is formed after magma cools and eventually becomes solid. Magmatic dike are formed from igneous rock.

8. Pillow Lava is the last part of a volcano. This is the end result of cooling magma. (For more info read on.)

Volcano Eruption & The End Products

When a Submarine Volcano erupts a whole different process occurs. With most volcanoes the magma will run down the side of the volcano and the magma can take months to COMPLETELY cool. Whereas a lava coming from a Submarine Volcano takes seconds to cool post-eruption time. Because the magma takes less time to cool things like Volcanic Glass (Top) and Lava Pillows (Bottom) Form.

The reason things like Volcanic Glass and Lava Pillows form is because the presence of water greatly alters magmas characteristics. The increased thermal conductivity of water causes magma to cool and solidify magma quickly. The following video shows what a Submarine Volcano looks like during eruption.

Where are these Volcanoes Located?

Submarine Volcanoes are located all around the world (underwater of course). Scientists estimate that there are nearly 4,000 submarine volcanoes per million square kilometer on the ocean floor. Although researchers and explorers have not discovered all major Submarine Volcanoes they have been able to compile a list including :

  • Adams
  • Axial
  • Bear
  • Healy
  • Banua Wuhu
  • Kick 'em Jenny
  • ETC.

Although location of Submarine Volcanoes vary the majority of them can be located near plate tectonic gaps called ocean ridges. Some can even be located in shallow waters. In this instance these volcanoes can spew material into the air pre-eruption. The following image shows a map showing just some of the Submarine Volcanoes researchers have discovered.

One of the biggest questions as to why we have a hard time finding Submarine Volcanoes is because below ocean depths of about 2200 meters where the pressure exceeds 218 atmospheres, the critical pressure of water, it can no longer boil; it becomes a supercritical fluid. Without boiling sounds, deep-sea volcanoes are difficult to detect at great distances using hydrophones.

The Surrounding Ecosystem

These volcanoes surrounding ecosystems are quite lively. The nearby environment contains things like giant clams, mussels, tube worms, and other sea critters. The reason these creatures can live is because they use sulfur as a necessity instead of sunlight. The reason being is that marine volcanoes bring three things to underwater life that wouldn't be there otherwise. Among those three things include hot water, minerals, bacteria. For example, lava pillows are a very big hotspot for tube worms.

External Links

The following buttons are all interactive. To view the website simply click the button. These links will take you other sites that have some other interesting photographs and videos on Submarine Volcanoes.

Works Cited

basicplanet. Bioexpidition, 2015. Web. 16 Apr. 2015. <>. This website helped me identify how scientists are able to detect underwater volcanoes.

A diagram showing the steps and labels of an underwater volcano. WikiPedia. WikiPedia, 2015. Web. 14 Apr. 2015. <>. This was an image I plan to use for my independent study project showing the volcano eruption process.

Map showing locations of submarine volcanoes. WikiPedia. WikiPedia, 2015. Web. 14 Apr. 2015. <>. This was a photo I plan to use to show the location and number of submarine volcanoes.

National Geogrpahic. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print. This was a source I found that included a video of an underwater volcano eruption.

Oregon State University. Oregon State Univeristy, n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2015. <>. This was a website I used to find out a little bit more about submarine volcano ecosystems and the surrounding wildlife.

“Volcanic Glass.” Stephen Hui Geology. Stephen Hui Geological Meuseum, 2015. Web. 16 Apr. 2015. <>. This was a photo I used to show what volcanic glass looks like.

“Volcano Activity Tracker.” Pix Good. Pix Good, 2015. Web. 16 Apr. 2015. <>. This photo I will use to show how scientists are able to conduct and track activity of volcanoes.

WikiPedia. N.p., 2015. Web. 14 Apr. 2015. <>. This was a website I used to write down the names of several submarine volcanoes.

WikiPedia. N.p., 2015. Web. 14 Apr. 2015. <>. This was a source I used for information about the submarine volcanoes.