"Sharknado" may have been one of the most preposterous science fiction movies in recent memory but sharkcano is very, very real.
Scientists filming Kavachi, one of the southwest Pacific's most active underwater volcanoes, discovered two species of sharks living inside the volcano's caldera in January, according to a new video from National Geographic.
Concerned about activity from the volcano, the expedition members only left the camera in the hot, acidic water around the volcano for about an hour. But in that short time, they spotted scalloped hammerhead sharks, silky sharks and a sixgill stingray.
"The idea of there being large animals, like sharks, hanging out and living inside the caldera of this volcano conflicts with what we know about Kavachi, which is that it erupts," ocean engineer Brennan Phillips, who led the trip, said in the video.
"When it’s erupting, there’s no way anything could live in there," he added. "And so to see large animals like this that are living and potentially they could die at any moment, it brings up lots of questions. Do they leave? Do they have some sort of sign that it’s about to erupt? Do they blow up sky-high in little bits?"
Kavachi, located in the Solomon Islands, erupted more than two dozen times in the 20th century and again in 2004 and 2007. A NASA satellite captured evidence of its most recent eruption in January 2014.
"The fact that we saw animals in the plume like that, that opens up all kinds of interesting questions," Phillips said. "That’s the best project, is to go out with one question and come back with many."
On the same expedition, the team also spotted a shark species known as a sleeper shark about 12 miles from Kavachi. The shark, which is normally found in the northern Atlantic and Pacific or farther south near Australia and Antartica, had never before been spotted around the Solomon Islands.