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Friday, May 01, 2015

ALERT 8,000 Earthquakes,:Volcano Erupts off West Coast of U.S.

ALERT: Just off the Pacific Northwest coast the seafloor has been rumbling. Over the past five months, there were hundreds of small earthquakes at Axial Seamount. Then on April 24, there was a spike to over 8,000 earthquakes.

A new volcanic eruption is now confirmed to be taking place off the West Coast of the United States. The new undersea volcanic activity is occurring approximately 300 miles off the shores of Central Oregon, along the Axial Seamount, where a fresh fissure has formed, producing new undersea lava flows, and seismic activity.

Last fall, scientists placed a series of measuring devices on the Axial Seamount, to see if they could predict when it might erupt.
Axial Seamount: Images of an Erupting Undersea Volcano
 Axial Seamount location
Axial Seamount is an active submarine volcano on the Juan de Fuca Ridge in the NE Pacific. It rises to a depth of 1400 m below sea level and is located approximately 300 miles off the coast of Oregon. Axial Seamount was the site of the world's first underwater volcano observatory called NeMO and has erupted most recently in 1998 and 2011. Because it is so active, Axial has been chosen as a key node on the new cabled observatory, which is part of the National Science Foundation’s Ocean Observatory Initiative (OOI). Axial continues to be the focus of long-term time-series studies of the interactions between geology, chemistry, and biology on a dynamic part of the mid-ocean ridge system using state-of the art technology. 

See the Axial Blog to follow our attempts to forecast when it will erupt next.
Geologist Bill Chadwick, with Oregon State University, says it appeared an eruption was imminent then last week the devices lit-up.   “All of a sudden there were thousands over 8,000 of tiny earthquakes that told us that magma was starting to move to the surface,” he said. “At about the same time we saw the seafloor start dropping like a rock. Over the first few days it dropped eight feet. So it’s a big event.”

Contributing sources: 

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