A colossal floating raft of volcanic rock that rose from an underwater volcano eruption within the Pacific Ocean is gradually drifting towards the Australian coast, heartening hopes it could benefit the jeopardized Great Barrier Reef.
The massive pumice raft, over 20,000 football fields in measurement and composed of volcanic rock that’s gentle enough to drift on the surface of the water – appeared only a few weeks in the past, after a suspected underwater volcanic eruption near Tonga.
Satellite imagery first revealed the giant formation on the water’s floor on August 9, corresponding with stories from sailors on time.
However, the most remarkable observations got here from the crew of the Australian adventure catamaran ROAM, who discovered themselves adrift amidst the colossal mass of floating rocks, “completely covering the ocean surface.”
The same kind of experience was reported by sailor Shannon Lenz, who posted incredible footage of sailing through the rock raft on YouTube.
While the volcanic phenomenon might constitute a sailing hazard for other vessels, news of the raft formation is being welcomed by scientists, mainly because the pumice slick is drifting towards the east coast of Australia.
“This is a possible mechanism for restocking the Great Barrier Reef,” says geologist Scott Bryan from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).
“Based on previous pumice raft occasions we’ve studied over the last 20 years, it will bring new wholesome corals and different reef inhabitants to the Great Barrier Reef.”
According to Bryan and fellow QUT researchers, the floating rock slick is predicted to float move New Caledonia and Vanuatu and may pass through coral reef areas in the eastern Coral Sea.
Importantly, this should occur at about the same time as the area goes by it is main coral spawning later in the year, which may transform the rocky pumice into a traveling ecosystem.