When the camera plunged into the roiling orange waters of one of the most active submarine volcanoes in the world, scientists expected to see plenty of activity; hordes of sharks living in the fiery crater were not supposed to be seen.
Reef sharks, hammerheads, and scalloped hammerheads all swam up to the lens, unbound by the fact that a short time before an eruption had taken place.
The discovery was made in 2015 by National Geographic Grant Dr Brennan Phillips at the Solomon Islands volcano Kavachi.
How, when and how many sharks are there is one of the greatest underwater mysteries of the planet and is the subject of Sharkcano, a new National Geographic documentary.
Marine ecologist Michael Heithaus, of Florida International University’s Department of Biological Sciences, has dedicated the last few years of his career to asking why the top predators are drawn to volcanoes.
Professor Heithaus, who has been researching sharks for the past 25 years, told 9News.com.au that he had been blown away by the discovery of Dr Phillips, which occurred by happenstance.