Undersea Volcano Apparently Erupts Off Oregon Coast, No Tsunami Threat



Location of the Axial Seamount off the Oregon coast. (NOAA)
Location of the Axial Seamount off the Oregon coast. (NOAA)



SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — An active undersea volcano off the Oregon Coast has apparently begun a new eruption — an event which was predicted by two scientists months ago.

Based on a swarm of thousands of earthquakes and a seafloor drop of 8 feet, the eruption of the submarine volcano called Axial Seamount commenced on April 24. 

The apparent eruption was observed by scientists in real time, with the help of high-tech instruments installed by scientists at the University of Washington.

“It was an astonishing experience to see the changes taking place 300 miles away with no one anywhere nearby, and the data flowed back to land at the speed of light through the fiber-optic cable connected to Pacific City — and from there, to here on campus by the Internet, in milliseconds,” Washington oceanogoraphy professor John Delaney said in a statement.

The volcano is located along the boundary between two tectonic plates — the Pacific Plate and the Juan de Fuca plate — about 300 miles west of Oregon.

In a blog post last autumn, Bill Chadwick of Oregon State University and Scott Nooner of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington predicted that the Axial Seamount would erupt within the next 15 months based on a repeated pattern of seafloor elevation changes before, during, and after eruptions dating back to 1998.

Scientists say the activity is not strong enough to be felt on land nor is it likely strong enough to produce a tsunami.