About two years ago, geologists studying an ocean channel near Ketchikan spotted something unusual. It was a submerged volcano, about 150 feet below the surface. It was dormant. The experts estimated it hadn’t erupted for about 10,000 years. Now, scientists have discovered another underwater volcano, near Dixon Entrance, just north of Alaska’s maritime border with British Columbia. “Nothing like that had been mapped in the area before, so we knew then that we had discovered something new,” said Gary Greene, a marine geologist working with the Sitka Sound Science Center.
He and a Canadian counterpart found the volcano Sept. 23 during a study of the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather Fault System. That’s been the epicenter of some recent earthquakes. “We had just completed some survey work and we modified our line to go to another place to look. And as we were transiting, we came across this big plume and this big cone where the plume was coming out of,” he said. The plume, made up of methane gas, was being released by a volcanic vent about 3,000 feet below. It stretched up about two-thirds of the way to the ocean’s surface. But Greene said there was no fresh lava — or anything else to worry about. “We worked over the vent, right over the vent. And we’re still around to tell about it. So I think it’s probably OK for mariners,” he said. CONTINUE