Scientists on board the CSIRO research vessel Investigator have taken rare video footage of an eruption of the Big Ben volcano on remote sub-Antarctic Heard Island during an IMAS voyage to the Kerguelen Plateau.
Big Ben, which includes the 2,745 m tall Mawson Peak, the highest mountain on Australian territory north of Antarctica, is known to have erupted at least three other times since 2000.
But the remoteness of Heard Island and the neighbouring McDonald Islands, also an active volcano, means eruptions are rarely glimpsed by people and usually only recognised from sparse satellite images.
RV Investigator is circling the islands on the sub-Antarctic Kerguelen Plateau as part of an IMAS-led voyage to study the link between active volcanoes on the seafloor and the mobilisation of iron which enriches and supports life in the Southern Ocean.
Voyage Chief Scientist, IMAS’s Professor Mike Coffin, and PhD candidate Jodi Fox comment on the eruption.
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