An international team of researchers led by Simone Cesca from GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences managed to chronicle the processes that led to the formation of a new underwater volcano off the island of Mayotte.
Publishing their findings in Nature Geoscience, the scientists noted that their work essentially shows how “such deep offshore magmatic activity can be captured without any on-site monitoring”.
The team’s attention was drawn to the region in question back in May 2018 when that “seismically quiet area” witnessed swarms of earthquakes that were later followed by a surface deflation on Mayotte.
"We [soon] recognized in late May 2018 a seismic swarm in a region where seismicity has been moderate in previous years", Newsweek quotes Cesca as saying. "The largest event, with magnitude Mw 5.9, was [the] largest ever recorded in the region."
Said earthquake swarms were apparently related to magma flowing up from a deep reservoir, "the deepest and largest magma reservoir in the upper mantle (more than 3.4 cubic kilometres) to date", as study co-author Eleonora Rivalta put it.
And once an open channel between the seabed and Earth’s mantle formed, the magma spilled onward to form a new submarine volcano whose emergence was confirmed by a French oceanography campaign.
According to the media outlet, Cesca’s team is now seeking to uncover "similar, undiscovered processes" that might be taking place in remote parts of our planet.