Watch a Newly-Discovered Mud Volcano Erupt Underwater

🎇 New mud volcano discovered in Norwegian waters
🎇 New mud volcano discovered in Norwegian waters / REV Ocean

To gain rare perspective on the Earth’s interior, scientists with Advancing Knowledge of Methane in the Arctic (AKMA) had to travel to the bottom of the Barents Sea. There, they spotted and recorded an active mud volcano—the second ever discovered in Norwegian waters. You can watch a video of the unique geological feature above. 

Instead of molten rock, the Borealis Mud Volcano continuously spews streams of fine sediment and methane-rich water. The muck originates several hundred feet to several miles beneath the Earth’s crust. In addition to teaching researchers about what goes on deep inside our planet, the volcano offers insights into the changes taking place in our atmosphere. Methane is one of the primary greenhouse gases contributing to global warming; this new discovery allows scientists to study its impact when it comes from a steady, localized source. 

While mud volcanoes can be found on land and underwater, this particular formation is located 70 nautical miles south of Norway’s Bear Island, more than 1300 feet beneath the water’s surface. It sits in a 1000-foot-wide crater that likely formed through a massive methane explosion 18,000 years ago. Despite the volatile setting, the crater supports a vibrant undersea ecosystem that includes anemones, sponges, corals, sea stars, and tube worms. 

The team of scientists led by UiT, The Arctic University of Norway discovered the Borealis Mud Volcano with the piloted submersible vehicle ROV Aurora while on board the research vessel Kronprins Haakon. Professor Stefan Buenz, co-leader of the AKMA expedition, said in a statement, “Exploring the ocean floor and discovering new methane seeps is like finding hidden treasures. It’s full of surprises. We have found thousands of seeps. Yet, every time we go down to the ocean floor, we come away with a feeling that we are just beginning to understand the vastness and incredible diversity of seep systems.” 

After watching the rare footage above, see what the inside of a volcano looks like here.