NURP banner graphic
Home About Research Technology Centers News Funding Library
Hot Topics

Researchers Discover New Volcano in American Samoa
This story entered on 25th Apr, 2005 01:21:33 PM PST

In March, 2005, the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory (HURL), NOAA’s Undersea Research Program for Hawaii and the Western Pacific, began a120-day deep-sea investigation of U.S. territories in the South Pacific. In mid-April, while in American Samoa, scientists discovered a new volcano growing inside the crater of Vailulu'u, a large and active undersea volcano. The new volcano, named Nafanua after the Samoan goddess of war, has grown rapidly to a height of 1000 feet since a depth survey of the area was conducted in 2001.

Its major eruptive activity went unnoticed by global seismic monitoring or by local Samoan residents. Within decades, continued growth could bring the summit of Nafanua so close to the sea surface that eruptions could prove hazardous to navigators and coastal communities and potentially contribute to the formation of tsunamis. While these scenarios are very unlikely, close monitoring of Nafanua’s volcanic activity could prove to be critical.

Researchers first glimpsed Nafanua from aboard HURL’s Pisces V deep-sea submersible. Though hydrothermal vent activity obscured visibility, scientists were able to observe microbial mats on Nafanua’s surface and hundreds of eels inhabiting the vents’ cavernous rock pillars. This research was made possible by funding from NOAA’s Undersea Research Program (NURP) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

More information:

Contact information
Name: John Smith
Tel: (808) 956-9669


NURP logo Home   About   Research   Technology   Centers   News   Funding   Library
NOAA's Undersea Research Program
1315 East-West Highway, R/NURP - Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone: (301) 734-1000  Fax: (301) 713-1967  
bullet  Contact Info bullet  Privacy Policy bullet  Disclaimer bullet Site Index
NOAA logo
Updated: August 26, 2005