R/V Roger Revelle: Studying the largest explosive submarine volcanic eruption in history

Read the MESH expedition blog here

The R/V Roger Revelle is host to an international team of scientists who will investigate the largest historical explosive submarine eruption.  

The eruption, which occurred at Havre Volcano between New Zealand and Tonga in July 2012, is thought to have produced a bulk erupted deposit volume of about 1.5 cubic kilometers.  This is 1.5 times the volume of the Mount St. Helens eruption on 18 May 1980, or about 10 times the volume of the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption in Iceland.

The eruption of magma in deep submarine settings is poorly understood, and this research cruise provides a rare and important opportunity to better understand Earth processes.  The precise role of hydrostatic pressure (the weight of the overlying water column) in modulating eruptive dynamics is unknown.  In fact, had this explosive eruption not been discovered, it would likely not have been predicted because of the prevailing idea that hydrostatic pressure at the eruption depth (which exceeds 9 megapascals) can significantly suppress explosivity.

You can follow the progress of Chief Scientist Adam Soule, Principal Investigators Rebecca Carey and Bruce Houghton, and the international team of scientists, technicians and engineers aboard Roger Revelle as they explore the eruption site using the Remotely Operated Vehicle Jason and the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Sentry:

Mapping, Exploration, & Sampling at Havre (MESH): An expedition to study the largest recorded submarine explosive volcanic eruption in history 

Research vessel operations at Scripps Institution of Oceanography are supported by the National Science Foundation (Awards 1119644, 1212770, 1227624, and 1321002).

R/V Roger Revelle is operated by Scripps Institution of Oceanography under a charter agreement with the Office of Naval Research.  Roger Revelle is one of six major oceanographic research vessels owned by the U.S. Navy and operated within the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System as shared-use research facilites.