PMEL and Oregon State University(OSU)/CIMRS scientist Bill Chadwick and Scott Nooner at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) have successfully forecast the latest eruption of Axial Seamount, an active submarine volcano located about 300 miles off the coast of Oregon. Based on a swarm of earthquakes and large vertical movements of the seafloor, the eruption started on April 24, 2015. While instruments at the site clearly picked up on these signals, the activity is not strong enough to be felt by anyone on land or large enough to produce a tsunami. In the fall of 2014 the scientists posted a blog predicting that Axial would erupt within the next 15 months. They based their prediction on a repeated pattern of seafloor elevation changes before, during, and after eruptions since 1998.
This work has been possible through a cooperative effort that includes the PMEL Earth-Ocean Interactions Program, OSU/CIMRS, the University of Washington-led OOI Cabled Array, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, UNCW and was funded by the National Science Foundation and NOAA. Please see the OSU press release.
PMEL in the News
Findings of two projects released on April 29 by researchers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are shedding some light on the potential impact of climate change on some Arctic marine species.
Axial Seamount, an active underwater volcano located about 300 miles off the coast of Oregon and Washington, appears to be erupting. Two scientists, including one from OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center had forecast that such an event would take place there in 2015.
Even though ~75% of Earth's volcanic activity occurs below the sea surface, many questions remain on the longevity and acoustic characteristics of explosive seafloor eruptions. To date, only two active eruptions have ever been observed visually in the deep-ocean (>500 m) volcanoes, and then... more