Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

William Chadwick

Research Professor

Oregon State University

Forecasting eruptions at a submarine volcano offshore Oregon

Wednesday — September 24, 2014
Pacific Forum — 3:00 p.m.


Axial Seamount is the most active submarine volcano in the NE Pacific and is the site of the first volcano observatory on the deep seafloor. High-resolution pressure sensors that were developed for tsunami detection in the open ocean have been used at Axial Seamount to measure vertical movements of the seafloor related to a cycle of volcanic inflation and deflation. Between eruptions, magma accumulates in a reservoir beneath Axial's summit caldera and the seafloor slowly rises at ~15 cm/yr. During eruptions, the reservoir deflates and the seafloor rapidly subsides between 2-3 meters. This kind of volcano deformation has been used on land to forecast eruptions but this is the first time this technique has been tried on the seafloor. Axial Seamount erupted in 1998 and again in 2011. When will it erupt next?

Next: September 29 - Antje Boetius