The Origin of the Pumice Sheet Going Towards Australia Discovered

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In the past months, a massive sheet of floating rock has been drifted across the Southwest Pacific, and it’s going towards Australia. This thing has attracted a lot of media and attention because it was first seen this summer, but no one was sure where it actually came from.

There’s a team of scientists from GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre which has found its origin: there’s an underwater volcano, that’s just 50 km – that’s 31 miles – northwest of the island called Vava’u in Tonga. Apparently, in the international scientific literature, it appears to be named Volcano F, according to Dr. Philipp Brandl, who is also the author of the study.

The Origin of the Pumice Sheet Going Towards Australia Discovered

The pumice sheet was made out of thousands and thousands of stones, and it first made its appearance in august 2019. Because it has a porous structure, the pumice can float, and it can form a considerable raft that can get up to 167 square km – that’s 64 square miles – across the sea. It’s double the size of Manhattan.

On the 9th of August 2019, Shannon Lenz, the sailor who filmed the pumice raft, sailed through the pumice field for about 8 hours. She stated that she could not see the water anymore. She said it was like plowing through a field, and that the pumice was at least 6 inches thick.

Researchers were able to find the source of the pumice, with the help of the ESA satellite Copernicus Sentinel-2. They discovered the traces of an active eruption on the surface in the Southwest Pacific, which was a perfect match for the pumice, which was overflown. The trails lead to Volcano F. there were also only two stations that recorded seismic signals of a volcano eruption.