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Undersea Volcano Likely to Be Erupting Off the Coast of Oregon and Washington

oregon volcano

Image credit: A topographical view of the Axial Seamount, an active underwater volcano off the coast of Oregon, via Oregon State University

It is said that something might be bubbling underwater not far from the American West Coast. Scientists believe that the Axial Seamount, an active underwater volcano located 480 kilometers away from the coast of Oregon, could be releasing undersea lava. However, as The Seattle Times put it, it is still uncertain that such event should be an eruption in technical term.

During the autumn of 2014, the possible eruption of the Axial Seamount within fifteen months was predicted by Geologists Bill Chadwick of Oregon State University and Scott Nooner of the University of North Carolina Wilmington, according to the real-time data collected by high-tech seafloor instruments.

As John Delaney, an oceanography professor from University of Washington, said, it was an amazing to watch the changes occurring 480 kilometers away with no body anywhere nearby. Being responsible for installing the instruments, John went on, his team received the data that was passed on to land at the speed of light via the fiber-optic cable connected to Pacific City, then in milliseconds, data continued to flow back to the campus by the Internet.


Image Credit: Custom-built pressure sensor detects the movement of the seafloor / NSF-OOI/UW/CSSF

This area has been undergoing thousands of small earthquakes for more than a week up to now. Such sign show that magma under the earth’s crust is struggling towards the surface. At the same time, the seafloor was cut down by 2.4 meters, demonstrating that magma is being pulled out from a reservoir underground.

However, it is unnecessary to leave right now, because scientists confirm that the event is not posing any threat to the coast or the local residents nearby. As the earthquakes occurring before and after the eruption are tiny in terms of their magnitude, the gradual movements of seafloor would be observed without any danger of a tsunami.

Researchers are intended to go to the seamount this summer so as to confirm its eruption. As Chadwick said, his team was not sure whether the earthquakes and deflation at Axial were closely linked with a full-blown eruption, or if it was just a big intrusion of magma yet to go up to the surface. Although some hints were noticed that lava did erupt, they would be not certain of it until they actually visited the site with a ship.”

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