Scientists Discovered Living Sharks Inside An Active Underwater Volcano

Brennan Phillips, who is an ocean engineer, led a team to the Solomon Islands in search of hydrothermal activity. But what they found was something shocking. There were sharks in the underwater volcano. The volcano, called Kavachi, was not erupting during their expedition, so the team was able to drop a deep-sea camera, into the crater.

The footage revealed hammerheads and silky sharks living inside the volcano. These sharks living in the acidic and hot environment are predators who can glide through the water with little body movement and little hydrodynamic noise.

The sharks are thriving inside the underwater volcano.

Of course, the team was caught by surprise at first and according to University of Rhode Island PhD student Brennan Phillips, they were “freaking out,” basically. But soon the scientists started wondering how it is possible for these animals to survive in such a hostile environment.

“Divers who have gotten close to the outer edge of the volcano have had to back away because of how hot it is or because they were getting mild skin burns from the acid water,” Phillips said. “These large animals are living in what you have to assume is much hotter and much more acidic water, and they’re just hanging out. It makes you question what type of extreme environment these animals are adapted to. What sort of changes have they undergone? Are there only certain animals that can withstand it?”

“You never know what you’re going to find. Especially when you are working deep underwater. The deeper you go, the stranger it gets.”

“No one has ever looked in the deep sea there, period. No one’s been out to anywhere in the Solomon Islands and gone deeper than a few hundred meters or deeper than a scuba diver has gone, really. So we were very excited. We thought there was a lot of potential.” Philips told National Geographic.