Sydney: A team of international scientists is setting out to explore a huge underwater volcano that has been producing tonnes of stone that has come ashore to the beaches of Australia and New Zealand.
The volcano was discovered by an airline passenger, who reported seeing the lava flow from the air, and reported it to scientific authorities, Xinhua news agency reported.
Vulcanologist Rebecca Carey from the University of Tasmania in Australia, one of the researchers from the five-nation team, will travel to the Kermadec arc, which is about 1,000 km north of New Zealand.
Carey told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Monday that the eruption has produced about a cubic kilometre of pumice.
She said the eruption of the undersea Havre Volcano was a one-in-10,000-year event and a rare chance for scientists to learn more about volcano.
"Havre probably has an eruption frequency of maybe one of these type of eruptions every 10,000 years, so it's just our luck I guess that it erupted and we saw satellite images and we've also got pumice," she said.
Carey said a passenger of an airline jet looked out of her window and saw these rafts of volcanic pumice and then contacted the Geological Survey of New Zealand, and the discovery would help researchers better understand the impact of underwater volcanoes.
"Seventy-five percent of Earth's volcanoes are actually on the sea floor and they provide heat and chemicals to the ocean that basically influence the bio-geo chemical cycles of the Earth," Carey said.
"These eruptions are very frequent. It's just that unless we get a pumice raft or significant seismicity next to a monitoring station, we have no idea that these eruptions are occurring."