Sharks Inside Active Volcanoes: Animals Surprising Us

Image courtesy of TeePublic.

If everyday animals that we know a lot about can still surprise us, how can we possibly make hard and fast rules about cryptids? Bigfoot, Chupacabra, water monsters, and countless others – we think we know it all. How far off can we be?

If someone told you that a group of different species of sharks were living in the poisonous waters of a caldera, part of an underwater volcano – would you believe it? And yet Mother Nature does it to us once again. All our preconceived notions about sharks and how they live get tossed to the wayside.

Brennan Phillips

This past summer, Ocean Engineer Brennan Phillips (photo left) and his team set out to study the erupting submarine volcano known as Kavachi. This volcano is located in the south west Pacific Ocean, near the Solomon archipelago.

Kavachi eruption.

Scientists have been aware of this volcano since 1939 when someone first noticed it erupting above the ocean’s surface. Since then they figure it has erupted that way 8 times. Sometimes it creates a little land formation above water which quickly erodes and collapses back down below the waves. Other times it just spouts a lot of vapor and gasses, creating a dramatic scene above water. Give it a few hundred years and there might be another island in the Solomon chain, but for now, it’s a work in progress.


The really interesting side to this expedition occurred when the team led by Phillips descended below the waves and couldn’t believe what they were seeing.

Hammerhead Shark

Don’t Look Now

The team sent down disposable robots, deep-sea cameras, and the deep-sea Drop Cam belonging to National Geographic to begin studying the volcano. The water around it is highly acidic and super hot, as you can imagine. Phillips believes it is always erupting below the surface of the ocean and he added that you can hear when it does erupt because it produces a rumbling within a 10-mile radius that can be heard and felt.

Silky Shark

First, they saw a stingray swimming around the ash plumes above the caldera, then several hammerhead sharks (photo above left) and then silky sharks (photo right). Later, after reviewing their footage, they noticed a big brown “blob” on camera that turned out to be a rarer shark called a Pacific Sleeper shark.

Later reports indicated that footage of smaller fish swimming inside the treacherous water was also found.

Phillips and his team came away with more questions than they started with, for instance:

  • How do the sharks know when to leave prior to an eruption?
  • Do they leave, or do they get blown up in the fray?
  • What other animals are lurking in the poisonous caldera and surrounds?

More research will have to be done, and I feel sure it will be done. National Geographic and the Waitt Grants Program are funding the research.

Bigfoot by unknown artist.

What Other Surprises Await Us

So naturally this surprise discovery got me thinking about cryptids, mostly Bigfoot. We’re so darn sure we know so much about their habits. Most of this knowledge is gleaned in the pitch dark of night as ears strain to hear knocks, and eyes strain for any sign of red eyeshine.

Some people feel sure they are apes, others are sure they are hominids. Some think they are passive, benevolent creatures, while others think they tend toward violence.

Some say they nest in tree/brush structures that they make, and other say those are all hoaxes.

Some think they are terrestrial, while others think they come from UFOs.

We could go on and on. I’m getting a little tired of hearing all the suppositions. I know there are intrepid investigators out in the woods trying to get the evidence we need to convince the scientific community once and for all. But their resources are limited. Many of them are self-funding and are doing it part-time, after work.

Notice in the case of these volcano-living sharks – the scientific team had all sorts of wonderful equipment. Robots, deep-sea cameras, the Deep Cam, not to mention a big boat equipped with everything they need for the duration of the exploration.

When is the scientific community going to get behind the research into Bigfoot’s existence? I think once they do, we’re going to find out lots of surprising things about the big stinky guy that will amaze not only us, but the whole scientific community.

There’s no telling what Mother Nature has in store!


  The name Kavachi comes from the New Georgia Group islanders name for their sea god. They call the volcano Rejo te Kavachi, meaning Kavachi’s oven.





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