Could this Underwater Volcano in the Caribbean Cause a Tsunami that Would Devastate the U.S.?

View from "Hercules," a 5,000-pound submersible used by Robert Ballard and his team. (National Geographic)
View from “Hercules,” a 5,000-pound submersible used by Robert Ballard and his team. (National Geographic)

A team of scientists is exploring the darkest corners of a huge underwater volcano in the Caribbean in hopes of better understanding the mysteries of earthquakes and tsunamis, ultimately saving lives.

Kick’em Jenny is a dangerous and active volcano sitting roughly 6,000 feet below the surface of the Caribbean Sea, and located off the coast of the island of Grenada, south of St. Lucia.

Robert Ballard, famous for discovering the Titanic 12,000 feet below the surface of the icy North Atlantic in 1985, set his sights on exploring the Kick’em Jenny to study its eruption history and learn more about how underwater volcanoes can pose a threat.

Ballard, the president of The Ocean Exploration Trust and the director of the Center for Ocean Exploration at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography, said the Kick’em Jenny volcano has a history of explosive eruptions, which could have the potential to trigger tsunamis, the effects from which could be felt as far away as the northeastern United States.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Kick’em Jenny volcano has erupted 10 times since 1939 with the most recent eruption in 1990.

“This is the most hazardous part of our planet, where [tectonic] plates are head-on,” Ballard said, noting that the devastating 2011 Japanese earthquake and the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami were both underwater earthquakes.

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ABC News

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