A ‘raft’ of volcanic rock the size of Manhattan is floating toward Australia
A large ‘raft’ of underwater volcanic rock is floating across the Pacific Ocean and drifting towards Australia. The researchers say that the raft, which carries several sea creatures and coral, will help recover the Great Barrier Reef.
The NASA Earth Observatory captured the raft which was produced after underwater volcanic eruptions 130ft down close to the island of Tonga on 7 August. The resulting pumice raft is around 150 km2, nearly the size of Manhattan, said NASA.
Just a few days later, a couple from Australia sailing towards Vanatu encountered the massive raft. The huge mass made of pumice stones blocked their catamaran and temporarily fouled its steering, the couple wrote on a social media post in August.
The lava masses produced by the underwater eruption stay on ocean surface as such pumice boulders comprise of several cavities and holes which help them float easily, the US space agency said.
Such giant pumice rocks end up being excellent homes for the sea creatures, thus helping them to spread further, said Erik Klemetti, a volcanologist.
Once this raft of pumice rocks drifts into the Australian waters in the coming days, it will bring new healthy reef dwellers and corals to the ailing Great Barrier Reef, said geologist Scott Bryan.