Thursday, June 12, 2008

Submarine Solfataric Outgassing Volcanism

Dr. Erik Klemetti at Eruptions has a great post about underwater volcanism caught on camera: Underwater volcanism caught in action.

This is an exciting discovery - to catch an undersea volcano in action - because we don’t know much about what happens in large, underwater explosive eruptions.
Not just any ol' ordinary volcanism - submarine solfataric outgassing volcanism.

The place is called "Brimstone Pit."

Underwater Volcano Eruption Caught on Camera.

June 12, 2008 -- More than 1,800 feet beneath the Pacific Ocean, the eruptions of an undersea volcano have revealed themselves on film, including the ejection of glowing red lava and the sounds of exploding gases.

"It's the first place where we've been able to observe an active volcanic eruption underwater," said Bill Chadwick of the Oregon State University Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, who led the group that observed the volcano with a remotely operated vehicle.

"Even though we think about 75 percent of the world's volcanic activity happens underwater in the ocean basins, it's a lot harder to see and detect."

The team identified the site after scanning the water in the region with an instrument that detects hydrothermal plumes -- water columns that bear the signature of volcanic activity below.

"This site had really unusual chemistry, so that's what put it high on our priority list when we went back to do the dives," Chadwick said. ...

"It's lots of gas and not much lava," said Chadwick. "The gas is the main thing driving these eruptions."

The team made the recordings in April 2006 at a place called Brimstone Pit, about 60 miles north of Guam at a subduction zone, where one tectonic plate plunges beneath another. They recently published their results online in the Journal of Geophysical Research.
Apparently this is the third time they've been there. The first time was in 2006.

"We found this big pit with rocks and molten sulfur flying out. And we were sitting at the edge of this pit."

Pulsating plumes of opaque yellowish ash containing droplets of sulfur started surging out of a feature called Brimstone Pit, close to the summit of a volcano named NW Rota-1, 60 miles northwest of the island of Rota in the North Pacific Ocean, at 1,820 feet below the water surface.
This is an avalanche of evidence. Methane gas by any chance? LOL. Nah, couldn't be, it's probably just some other type of explosive gas associated with sulfur and volcanoes...;)

Also see: Solid Hydrocarbons Found In Pillow Lava.


Anaconda said...


This post and the report on this 'solfataric' vent "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea," is exactly why "Peak" oil pushers will never want to admit that hydrocarbons and volcanic activity are associated.

The outgassings and "outpourings" are so enormous in scope, breadth, and intensity that should the general public every make the connection between oil and volcanic activity in the collective imagination, this realization would prevent the Idea of Peak oil from ever catching hold.

Let's be clear, "Peak" oil is not about science, in any way, shape, or form. It's about a political agenda, masqerading as science -- so these people can tell other people how to live -- control other people's life style.

It's a sad testiment to Man's Nature, and only too common in the historical record.

But on the positive side, the scientific evidence, as OilIsMastery points out, is literally "magnus."

As reported, over 75% of volcanism happens under the sea, and more times than not hydrocarbons are directly associated or in close proximity to the solfataric volcanism.

Ultra-deepwater, deep-drilling is in its adolescence -- feeling its power and range, but needing more experience and maturity.

This experience and maturity will come.

The investment is there, but the confidence to predict huge new oil finds and explain the geo-physics and geo-chemistry that allows these great finds to be made has not yet been brought forth.

The investment community is doing its part, but it can do more to get the word out -- Doom is bad for continuing, repeat business, the type of business that builds an economy over time.

This writer realizes most geologists are a lost cause -- they're simply to wrapped up in their Idol to see the light.

But there are others:

Geo-physists and Geo-chemists: Scientists that aren't satisfied with "made-up" words that pretend to explain, but instead obscure the real physical processes of the Earth we live on.

Yes, we should hope for as many geologists as possible to come to their senses, but to wait on them would be consigning the truth to a forlorn hope.

Instead, appeals to reason through education and imagination to true men of science and learning, and men of the field and the shop and the office, is our best hope.

The science is unmatched, and the investment is huge.

And, the opportunity to shed a great burden of falsehood and walk lightly in the sunshine of prosperity lies before us.

Grab that brass ring.

Anaconda said...


August 17, 1879
The New York Times
(Available by direct link at left-hand column under Introduction To The Science Of Abiotic Petroleum Origin)

"...[A] sound like that of stream escaping from a locomotive-value and then a rumbling noise were heard in the well, and a trembling of the earth was felt. Presently a shower of stones, ashes, and dry dust, accompanied by a dense cloud of gray smoke, was thrown high in the air. The eruption lasted only a few seconds and then oil began to flow copiously. The well has since been yielding nearly double its former quanity. The stones thrown up from the well were rough and light, like pumice stone. The stones were red and gray."

How else can a description like the one above be called, but exactly like it was, a volcanic oil well.

The pieces keep coming together.

Anaconda said...


I don't usually add comments this far back, but I was reviewing the month of June's archive because I noticed a lot of readers enter the website from this web address.

Anyhow, I read over the N.Y. Times report of a volcanic oil well, the story in itself is interesting, "all the news that's fit to print," right? But it made me think of what I had learned since placing that comment.

There is a direct connection between the level of geological activity and hydrocarbon production, since petroleum is a mineral product.

And, in spite of what the oil geologists say publically, in private they also know that to be true. That's why the oil industry keeps such close track of what geological age an oil deposit comes from -- they know certain ages were more geologically active than others and hence there will be more and larger oil deposits in the geological strata from that age.

But that's not why I'm adding another post. Reading the 'A Volcanic Oil Well' and noting the "pumice stone" and other indicia of a volcanic layer of rock, I thought of oil traps and how porous material is key to an oil trap's structure.

What would be more porous than a thick layer of volcanic ash laid down during a large eruption of a volcano?

Off hand, I can't really think of any.

So, could it be that the most productive oil traps (read oil wells) would be where crude oil flowed up into a layer of volcanic ash trapped under some impermeable layer?

Has the oil industry looked for this kind of deposit? If they have, I'm not sure they would reveal it to the general public because the oil industry never wants to have crude oil and volcanic activity linked in the general public's imagination.


As I've wrote before, the association of hydrocarbons and volcanic activity in the public's consciousness would create the foundation for the general public accepting Abiotic oil theory.

Too bad, because if the public knew all oil was abiotic then calls to "move beyond oil" would be less likely to succeed.

Insuring long-term prosperity for the oil industry.