Categories
Earth Healthy Planet

Undersea Eruptions Led to Massive Landslide

An erupting undersea volcano near Guam in the western Pacific continues to reshape the seafloor.

(Illustration: Santiago Uceda)

An erupting undersea volcano near Guam in the western Pacific continues to reshape the seafloor. In March 2010, scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and OSU led another in a series of expeditions to NW Rota-1 in the Mariana Arc. Eruptions have been practically continuous since first discovered in 2003, says Bill Chadwick, chief scientist for the project.

In August 2009, intense volcanic activity culminated in a dramatic landslide that extended up to five miles from the top of the mountain. Instruments deployed to monitor volcano activity were destroyed by the avalanche. A hydrophone survived intact and recorded the event, which lasted for five to six hours. The volume of material that slid off the mountain would have filled about 250,000 railroad boxcars, says Chadwick.

Chadwick presented expedition results at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in DecemberĀ  2010.

___________________________

For information about supporting research and teaching through faculty endowments, contact the Oregon State University Foundation, 1-800-354-7281 or visit CampaignforOSU.org.

By Nick Houtman

Nick Houtman is director of research communications at OSU and edits Terra, a world of research and creativity at Oregon State University. He has experience in weekly and daily print journalism and university science writing. A native Californian, he lived in Wisconsin and Maine before arriving in Corvallis in 2005.