Researchers Uncover Ancient Volcanos, Fish

A team of 28 scientists searching for baby lobster wound up discovering four underground volcanoes and a fish species off the Australian coast.

by Hannah Moore

July 16, 2015—For a team of 28 researchers, a routine seafloor mapping unexpectedly turned into compelling underwater finds of dormant volcanoes and peculiar-looking fish species.

The group found four ancient volcanoes that are about 155 miles off of the Sydney, Australia coast and approximately 16,000 feet below the ocean’s surface, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

The structures are believed to be more than 50 million years old. The largest spans 2,300 feet tall from the seafloor and 5,000 feet across. They are “underwater calderas,” which are large crater formations resulting from land collapse after a volcano eruption.

The scientists also discovered a scary-looking fish species that had fangs, no scales and tails equipped to sting, reported the Daily Times Gazette. The marine creatures, called idiacanthidae, live underneath the volcanoes and are found off of the east coast of Australia.

Scientists and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) captured images of the species.

The 15-day research voyage, conducted on the Marine National Facility research vessel, was conducted in search of lobster nurseries on the ocean floor.

This is the first time that this part of the ocean has been mapped and the first time these volcanoes were seen.

New sonar technology allows scientists to map the Australian ocean floor past 10,000 feet, which was not possible before. The entire ocean territory of Australia is now view-able.

According to a press release, the new technology and data from this discovery will lead to the unveiling of more secrets of our oceans and continents.

"This is the first time we've been able to respond directly to the changing dynamics of the ocean. For a biological oceanographer like me, it doesn't get more thrilling," said Professor Iain Suthers, a marine biologist at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).