Dec 15, 2016 – Axial Seamount, a large underwater volcano off of the Oregon coast, is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, having last erupted in 2015. At the Fall 2016 meeting of the American Geophysical Union, MBARI researchers unveiled a new seafloor map that reveals previously undocumented lava flows from the 2015 eruption.
June 25, 2012 – Axial seamount, 480 km (300 miles) off the coast of northern Oregon, is one of the best studied underwater volcanoes in the world. Now MBARI researchers have created the world’s most detailed map of an underwater lava flow, showing lava that erupted from Axial Seamount during April 2011. They describe this mapping effort and related geological discoveries in a recent paper in Nature Geoscience.
May 11, 2012 – “As the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) descended into the blue depths above the Alarcón Rise, the control room was abuzz with anticipation,” wrote MBARI geologist Julie Martin in her April 22nd cruise log. “Today we [are] planning to dive on one of the strangest environments in the deep sea: a hydrothermal vent field.”
MBARI’s seafloor mapping robot has had a busy year. It documented a huge lava flow from a three-month-old volcanic eruption off the Oregon coast; it charted mysterious three-kilometer-wide scour marks on the seafloor off Northern California; and it unearthed data that challenge existing theories about one of the largest offshore faults in Central California.
These days, when you can find your way through the woods using a cell phone or explore Mount Everest on your home computer, it’s hard to imagine that as many as 100,000 mountains on Earth have never been seen by human eyes, let alone explored. For all intents and purposes, these mountains are invisible, because they lie thousands of meters beneath the ocean waves.