Floating volcanic rock raft appears in ocean - CBBC Newsround

  • Floating volcanic rock raft appears in ocean - CBBC Newsround

Floating volcanic rock raft appears in ocean - CBBC Newsround

"It was quite eerie, actually", Larissa told CNN. "The whole ocean was matte".

An explosion from an underwater volcano near the tiny island nation of Tonga is thought to have produced the raft, according to NASA.

Pumice is made when magma from a volcano cools really quickly in water.

A raft of rock, the size of 20,000 football fields is floating towards Queensland.

A huge raft of volcanic rock has been spotted floating in the South Pacific Ocean, and it's due to reach Australian waters in a matter of months. By August 13th, image taken by the Operational Land Imager onboard the Landsat 8 showed that the massive pumice raft had drifted southwest. By the evening of August 15, they were surrounded by the rocks and their sulfur smell, they said in post on the Facebook page that tracks their sailing and surfing adventures.

Hoult said, "The rocks were kind of closing in around us, so we couldn't see our trail or our wake at all. We could just see the edge where it went back to regular water - shiny water - at night".

They posted photos of their discovery to Facebook, and in the week since have received homework assignments from scientists and university professors looking for photos and specimens of the pumice the Hoults collected.

Some of the coral larvae will make a home in the holes in the pumice and be carried to the Great Barrier Reef where they will settle when their transportation sinks.

Barnacles, corals, crabs and snails are among the organisms Bryan said will hitch a ride on the pumice "raft" when it washes up along Australia's coastline in less than a year.

A closer look at the sheet of volcanic rock making its way toward the Great Barrier Reef. "When they erupt, they can discolor the ocean surface with gases and debris". On board will be many microorganisms and scientists think they could bring aid to the world's greatest reef system, now hard-pressed by high temperatures and ocean acidification.

Prof Bryan said the raft will be the temporary home for billions of marine organisms.

"It's just one way that nature can help promote regeneration", he told ABC.

Pumice rafts aren't a particularly uncommon phenomenon, but this one is unusual by dint of its sheer size: around 150 sq km. Over time, it will probably break apart and disperse.

The pumice is now drifting westwards towards Fiji, and is likely to pass New Caledonia and Vanuatu before potentially reaching Australia in a year's time.

"Reefs will be gone unless we tackle anthropogenic heating", marine biologist Terry Hughes from James Cook University tweeted in relation to media coverage of the pumice.

In 2016, two-thirds of the corals in the northern part of the Great Barrier Reef died in the reef's worst ever bleaching event.

Following their encounter, the couple sent samples of the pumice stone to researchers at the QUT.