‘World’s biggest pumice raft’ bigger than PARIS set to crash into Australia after deep-sea volcanic eruption

A HUGE floating mass of pumice rocks has been discovered by sailors as they made their way to Fiji.

The pumice raft the size of Paris completely took over the water surrounding their boat and could be heading for Australia’s coastline.

ABC News

Footage of the pumice raft shows it was visible as far as the eyes could see[/caption]

The pumice rocks are thought to be the result of a deep-sea underwater volcanic eruption near Tonga in the South Pacific Ocean.

Pumice is formed by lava coming into contact with water.

As the lava cools it forms stone with lots of gas bubbles inside and that’s why pumice rocks float.

According to ABC, Queensland University of Technology geologist Associate Professor Scott Bryan said it “would have been a really eerie experience sailing into this sea of floating rock. No longer seeing water and hearing the scratching of the pumice against the hull.”

ABC News

The pumice made the ocean look like land[/caption]

Sail Surf Roam/Facebook

Australian couple Michael Hoult and Larissa Brill sailed into the pumice raft by accident on their way to Fiji[/caption]

Large gatherings of pumice rocks like this are referred to as pumice rafts as the rocks come together to form one big moving mass.

This particular pumice raft is floating towards the coast of Australia and it is big it can be tracked by satellite.

Although it isn’t the biggest pumice raft ever recorded, it is the biggest one observed in the world right now.

Australian couple Michael Hoult and Larissa Brill were the sailors who stumbled upon this recent eerie phenomenon.

They described what they saw as a “rubble slick made up of rocks from marble to basketball size such that water was not visible.”

Sail Surf Roam/Facebook

A 480 kilometres long pumice raft was spotted near New Zealand in 2012[/caption]

They added: “The waves were knocked back to almost calm and the boat was slowed to 1kt.”

The pumice is likely to start washing up on Australia’s coastline in seven to 12 months time and could bring with it lots of marine organisms that are now hitchhiking on the raft.

Associate Professor Bryan explained to ABC: “”In this 150-odd-square-kilometres of pumice out there right now, there’s probably billions to trillions of pieces of pumice all floating together and each piece of pumice is a vehicle for some marine organism.

“When it gets here, [the pumice raft will be] covered in a whole range of organisms of algae and barnacles and corals and crabs and snails and worms.

“We’re going to have millions of individual corals and lots of other organisms all coming in together with the potential of finding new homes along our coastline.”

This sort of event is said to occur around every five year and can actually help to regenerate the environment.

However, it can be hazardous to boats so it is not advisable to sail through a pumice raft if it can be avoided.

Experts think that the mystery of Sandy Island, which can be seen as a phantom island on Google Maps, could be explained by a pumice stone raft.

Sandy Island has been charted since 1774 as being located new New Caledonia in the South Pacific, but you won’t find it in Google Maps today.

The Famous Captain Cook was the first to spot Sandy Island and it was reported by other sailors too and even added to maps.

However, the French Hydrographic Service removed the island from its nautical charts in 1979.

But the true “undiscovery” came on November 22, 2012, when Australian scientists on the R/V Southern Surveyor failed to find Sandy Island.

Experts believe Sandy Island may have been a floating pumice raft – here’s an example of one near the Tonga Islands
Jesse Allen / Wikimedia Commons / Nasa

How do volcanoes erupt?

Here's the basic facts…

  • Volcanoes are formed when a hot liquid like substance called magma breaks through the Earth’s crust
  • Once the magma reaches the surface and gushes into the air, this is known as a volcanic eruption
  • Volcanic eruptions can release lava, rocks, dust, volcanic ash and toxic gases into the atmosphere
  • Some eruptions are huge and kill lots of people but other eruptions can be small flows of lava that are easily avoided
  • Volcanoes normally give off warning sides before an eruption occurs, such as tremors or gases, and this gives people nearby time to evacuate
  • Underwater volcanoes create pumice when the lava comes into contact with water
  • This is because when hot magma touches water it is rapidly cooled and de-pressurised, creating a floating stone substance full of gas bubbles

In other news, seaside towns have been ‘urged to move inland’ as climate chaos now means ‘retreat’ is needed, top scientists warn.

Scientists recently warned that waves are getting stronger.

And, a devastating plague that killed up to 50million people may have spread across Medieval Europe thanks to an explosive volcano.

What do you think of this huge floating rock island? Let us know in the comments!

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Source: thesun
‘World’s biggest pumice raft’ bigger than PARIS set to crash into Australia after deep-sea volcanic eruption