Call it a wild guess, but the warped minds behind the Sharknado the franchise may have a whole new source of mutated shark inspiration just waiting to be harnessed for gasps of slapstick horror. Unlike their bonkers small-screen counterparts, however, this one comes straight from a bizarre underwater scene – a bubbling scene in acidic, superheated waters – found deep below the actual ocean surface.
The latest eruption from Kavachi, one of the Pacific’s most active undersea volcanoes, has brought the geological phenomenon back on researchers’ radar, including clearer-than-ever looks at the site’s massive underwater plume. ‘at the top. The new images come from NASA’s Operational Land Imager telescopes aboard a pair of orbiting satellites, but what’s particularly chilling is the recent discovery of two types of sharks that live inside the saturated crater sulfur from the volcano.
Known to researchers since the 1930s (and to residents of the neighboring Solomon Islands long before that), the volcano – named after a local sea god – is subject to frequent and long eruptions that create a unique ecological zone at the reach of its underwater plume. . This is where specimens of silky, scalloped hammerhead sharks were observed after an eruption in 2014, prompting scientists to wonder how they could survive and thrive in such extreme conditions.
Sharks’ uncanny aptitude for extra-spicy acid baths seems straight out of science fiction – and observers thought so too, even going so far as to unofficially christen their hellish habitat the ‘Sharkcano’ in a document of research that marvels at creatures capable of living inside a spouting volcano crater.
“Populations of gelatinous animals, small fish and sharks have been observed inside the active crater, raising new questions about the ecology of active submarine volcanoes and the extreme environments in which large marine animals can exist,” the group summarized in their 2016 paper “Exploring the ‘Sharkcano’: Biogeochemical Observations from the Submarine Kavachi Volcano (Solomon Islands).”
The team then wonders if the animals “have a particular tolerance for hot, acidic water” that could offer them “a greater chance of surviving human-induced changes in ocean chemistry and periods of increase in underwater volcanism on a global scale”.
Hey, we’ve seen the movies, and our money’s definitely on sharks that can tolerate a lot – even if they have to mutate to do so.
After going to extreme lengths to save humanity in The last Sharknado: it was about timewe don’t know if Ian Ziering and Tara Reid still have something in the tank to revive a gloriously goofy franchise that officially ended with SYFY’s 2018 Sharknado swan song. But if they ever decide to reunite the gang for another beach patrol, they’ll find more than enough sci-fi source material deep in the Kavachi trenches… where the bizarre real-life sharks are just waiting. not the screenwriters pass the popcorn.