Sharks. Living inside a volcano. If this was a movie, it'd be 'Shark-cano.' But it's real.
There comes a time in all of our lives when we must admit the tragic truth: Sharknados are not real.
Neither are Sharktopuses or Mega Shark and Mecha Shark or any other such fantastical creatures of SyFy Original Movie fame — except for two-headed sharks (which could arguably occur as natural mutations) and avalanche sharks (which, with climate change, you never know).
It's OK. It can be difficult accept the harrowing reality of our CGI-monster-less lives.
But dry your eyes, brave soldier! For hope has risen like a phoenix from the fiery depths of the South Pacific....
Scientists recently discovered a certain sharp-toothed surprise while exploring an active underwater volcano.
That's right. Underwater volcano.
Oceanographer (and National Geographic Society/Waitts Grant recipient) Brennan Phillips led an expedition into the South Pacific to learn more about Kavachi, a submarine volcano near the Solomon Islands that was actively spewing as recently as 2014.
Phillips and his team knew that the summit was somewhere around 100 feet below sea level and that it was capable of shooting plumes of magma nearly a quarter-mile into the air, forming temporary islands on the ocean's surface.
But no one had ever explored Kavachi up close before. They wanted to learn more.
Unfortunately, it's hard to study underwater volcanos. 'Cause, ya know. Underwater. And also volcano.
They sent underwater cameras to look inside the crater and discovered that Kavachi wasn't the only thing that was active.
There were vol-crab-nos...
And f---ing SHARK-CANOS!
That's right, I said shark-canos. As in plural, baby.
Yes, these hyper-evolved geo-aquatic mutant hybrids are real. But that's ... about the only thing we know about them.
"These large animals are living in what you have to assume is much hotter and much more acidic water, and they’re just hanging out,” Phillips said. "What sort of changes have they undergone? Are there only certain animals that can withstand it? [...] Do they get an early warning and escape the caldera before it gets explosive, or do they get trapped and perish in steam and lava?”
While we have yet to witness any shark-canos riding like rockets out of the ocean on geysers made of molten rock, we have discovered their one major weakness:
Shark attacks against humans are incredibly rare — we're talking maybe 30 a year, 40 tops. You've got about a 1 in 11.5 million chance of experiencing your very own "Jaws" encounter.
That's not at all. There has not been a single record instance of a shark-cano attack in the entirety of human history. This is likely due to the fact that it's hard for living people to make it 200 feet underwater into the belly of a volcano, but still.
For the most part, sharks are all like:
and then us humans are all like:
Humans kill more than 100 million sharks every year. It's gotten to the point where 1 in 4 shark species are endangered.
If the tables were turned, you'd be hiding in a volcano too.
There's a much better chance of survival down there, which when you think about it, is really saying something.
To enjoy these magnificent creatures in all their glory, check out National Geographic's full video of the real-life shark-cano discovery: