Researchers at the Cooperative Institute for Marine Resources Studies (CIMRS), colleagues from NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, and other university researchers recently published three articles in Oceanography in a Special Issue on Oceanic Spreading Center Processes, providing foundational overviews on seafloor research technologies and deep-sea volcanic eruptions. In June 2012, two CIMRS first-authored articles were published in Nature Geoscience discussing specific findings related to the submarine volcanic eruption in April 2011 at Axial Seamount in the NE Pacific.
Background: In a Special Issue on Oceanic Spreading Center Processes of the journal Oceanography, the following papers were recently published:
- “Hydroacoustic Monitoring of Oceanic Spreading Centers, Past, Present and Future” identifies technological needs for more effective ways to monitor mid-ocean ridge seismic events in real time.
- “Hydrothermal Discharge During Submarine Eruptions: the Importance of Detection, Response, and New Technology” discusses improved methods to detect hydrothermal discharge during submarine eruptions. This has enabled a better understanding of “event plumes,” which are sudden, brief releases of immense volumes of hot hydrothermal fluids, often associated with mid-ocean ridge eruptions.
- “Volcanic Eruptions in the Deep Sea” examines the mechanisms of submarine volcanic eruptions and reviews the primary developments achieved in eruption detection, response speed, and observational detail since the first discovery of a deep submarine eruption at a mid-ocean ridge 25 years ago.
In the journal Nature Geoscience, Dziak et al discuss seismic precursors of the April 2011 eruption at Axial Seamount and opportunities for improved forecast technology with the forthcoming cabled observatory; Chadwick et al discuss the long-term record of inflation and deflation at the volcano that suggest the next eruption could be as early as 2018.
Significance: Comprehensive research on mid-ocean ridge volcanism has provided new technologies for studying our oceans and improved understanding of submarine volcanic eruptions, which are important events in Earth's cycle of magma generation and crustal construction. This work supports NOAA’s goal of systematically studying the structure and behavior of the ocean and related ecosystems.
Contact Information: Michael Banks
, CIMRS Director.