Take a tour of some of the lowest places on Earth

Learn about the geography and history behind some of the world's most challenging environments.

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West Mata Volcano, Samoas: 3,608 feet below sea level

What, did you think this was all going to be picturesque landscapes? We all like to see some ash, rock and molten lava every now and then.

West Mata is a submarine volcano more than a thousand yards underwater, southwest of the Samoas. The scientists who discovered it were amazed.

“It was an underwater Fourth of July – a spectacular display of fireworks nearly 4,000 feet deep,” said co-chief scientist Bob Embley, a marine geologist who explored the volcano. “Since the water pressure at that depth suppresses the violence of the volcano’s explosions, we could get the underwater robot within feet of the active eruption. On land, or even in shallow water, you could never hope to get this close and see such great detail."

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