Jakarta: Scientists on a deep-sea expedition
off Indonesia have discovered a towering volcano: It rises
10,000 feet (3,000 meters) from the ocean floor, yet remains
far from sight at the water`s surface.
US and Indonesian researchers, using a powerful sonar
system and a robotic vehicle with high-definition video, are
exploring terrain off Sulawesi island in hopes of getting a
glimpse into complex and little-known marine ecosystems.
They have mapped 2,400-sq-miles (6,200 sq-kilometres) of
sea floor since setting off last month, an area equal to the
size of the US state of Delaware, according to a news release
from the American embassy in Jakarta.
They found one undersea volcano that rises more than
10,000 feet (3,000 meters) in water 8,000-feet (5,480-meters)
deep, said Jim Holden, the chief US scientist for the first
leg of the joint expedition.
"This is a huge undersea volcano," he said, "taller than
all but three or four mountains in Indonesia."
The researchers hope the maps and video produced from the
journey will pave the way for others who want to follow up on
their preliminary findings.
"The more we understand these undersea features and the
communities of life they support, the better we can manage and
protect the ocean and its resources," said Holden, a
microbiologist at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.