Only some decades ago it was discovered that at some submarine volcanoes can be found hot springs which emit liquid carbon dioxide. Best known is the North-West Eifuku Champagne Vent in Northern Mariana Islands.


In 1990 there was published a Japanese research paper about the discovery of unusual hydrothermal vents in Okinawa Through – there deep under the water formed bubbles of liquid carbon dioxide.

Next "springs" of liquid carbon dioxide were discovered in the Northern Marianas in the April/May 2004, when the active submarine volcanoes were explored by the USA led "Submarine Ring of Fire 2004" expedition.

There were explored several active geothermal fields around the submarine NW Eifuku volcano, but the most exotic one had numerous soapy bubbles rising from it and thus this field was called "Champagne".

This unusual natural landmark is located at the depth of 1,607 m and the discovery was made by a robot – remotely-operated vehicle ROPOS.

Champagne vents of North West Eifuku Volcano (bubbles not seen in this image), Northern Marianas
Champagne vents of North West Eifuku Volcano (bubbles not seen in this image) / U.S. Geological Survey / public domain.

Breath of the former life

The gases are coming through several so-called "white smokers" – small mounds which emit a light-colored, misty liquid. These mounds in Champagne field are up to 1 m high and the emitted liquid is up to 103° C hot.

Next to these white plumes from the ocean bed are rising bubbles of cold (less than 4° C), liquid carbon dioxide. It is in a liquid state due to the high pressure in this depth. These bubbles are not transparent but rather white-colored – their walls are covered with hydrate (or clathrate) of carbon dioxide.

Also the white plume contains a very high, even unprecedented amount of carbon dioxide. Every second towards the surface of ocean rise 23 moles of CO2.

Scientists consider that such a high amount of this gas is produced due to the following reasons:

  • Here is located subduction zone – the floor of the ocean here is diving into the hot entrails of the Earth;
  • Floor of the ocean is covered with a layer of carbonates (limestone, dolostone) – remnants of the ocean life, such as fishes, crustaceans and plankton;
  • As carbonates reach the heat, there is emitted the carbon dioxide from this material. This gas rises upwards until it reaches atmosphere.

Thus, in a way these bubbles represent the last breath of the ocean life.

Acid ocean?

Lately there are discovered more and more such emissions of liquid carbon dioxide. Thus, for example, at Nikko and Daikoku submarine volcanoes such carbon dioxide bubbles rise from the pools of liquid sulfur. Wild exotics! New discoveries are reported also near Kermadec Islands.

Scientists consider that these springs can help us to understand the effects of acidification on ocean life. Thus, it has been reported that mussels near NW Eifuku Champagne vents have considerably thinner shells. This research though is at an early stage.

North-West Eifuku Champagne vents are included in the following list:

Cave of the Crystals, Mexico
Cave of the Crystals / Alexander Van Driessche, Wikimedia Commons / free for use
40 unique natural wonders of the world[/caption] This article is a kind of wonder by itself: after meticulous work of several years here has been collected a list of absolutely unique places, where nature has outdone itself and created something unique, just in one example.


  1. Lupton, J.; Lilley, M.; Butterfield, D.; Evans, L.; Embley, R.; Olson, E.; Proskurowski, G.; Resing, J.; Roe, K.; Greene, R.; Lebon, G. Liquid Carbon Dioxide Venting at the Champagne Hydrothermal Site, NW Eifuku Volcano, Mariana Arc. American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2004, abstract #V43F-08.
North-West Eifuku Champagne Vent on the map
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Location, GPS coordinates: 21.4896 N 144.0382 E (mistake up to 800 m)
Categories: Geothermal fields, Fumaroles, Springs
Values: Geology
Rating: 3 out of 10 stars
Where is located? Australia and Oceania, Micronesia, Northern Mariana Islands, Northern Island Municipality, north from Farallon de Pajaros island, North-West Eifuku volcano (submarine), to the west from the summit of volcano
Temperature of liquid: 103° C

Landmarks of Northern Mariana Islands

Blue Grotto, Saipan
Blue Grotto, Saipan / tata_aka_T, / CC BY 2.0
Highlights of Northern Mariana Islands are the unique submarine volcanoes, the gorgeous nature and local megaliths – latte stone settings.


Fontaine de Vaucluse, very high water level
Fontaine de Vaucluse, very high water level / / CC BY-SA 2.0

This category includes natural sites where water, other liquids and/or gases reach the surface of the Earth, including locations under water.

Powerful natural freshwater springs belong to the most fascinating monuments of nature. Even more exciting is the diversity of unusual springs – mineral springs, hot springs, submarine springs as well as the unusual black smokers. Especially beautiful are such natural rarities as travertine, silica or salt terraces created by warm and hot springs and, especially, geysers.

Recommended books

Diving to a Deep-Sea Volcano

Scientists have mapped less than 10 percent of the ridge of underwater mountains in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. It is here that 95 percent of the volcanic activity on earth occurs. And it is also where the scientist Rich Lutz has tracked the remarkable evolution of bizarre creatures that spawn in hydrothermal vent fluids that are poisonous to most other forms of life.

Submarine Volcanoes and Volcanic Islands

This book is about submarine volcanoes and their ‘children’, the volcanic islands. Discover how these volcanic ‘giants’ are born under the seas and the oceans. Find out when a new island may emerge through lava.

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