Axial Science Questions
Axial Science Questions
Evolving List of Major Axial Science Questions for NOVAE Workshop Deliberation
Please look over the two simple figures to the right. Note that the two cross sections are keyed to the dashed lines in the map figure and that the cross sections are not vertically exaggerated.
Please continue identifying key questions about the overall system represented, and send your suggested one-line questions to email@example.com. We will share all of the questions we receive with the participants in the NOVAE workshop, and use a subset of them to guide discussions in the Breakout Sessions on Day 2 of the Workshop.
- What is the dynamic behavior of magma chambers?
- What are the input/output rates and processes?
- What are the transport mechanisms within chamber?
- Are there techniques for imaging or detecting some of these internal magma chamber processes?
- What are the conditions necessary for an eruption to take place?
- What events can trigger eruptions?
- How much heat is lost at the side of a magma chamber as opposed to loss through the top of the chamber?
Crustal Seismic Activity
- What is the seismic signature of an impending eruption?
- Can external forcing, e.g., tidal changes in seafloor pressure, trigger the onset of fracturing in the oceanic crust?
Seafloor Hydrothermal Systems - and Microbes/Viruses
- What spatial and temporal variability operates in hydrothermal systems in terms of heat, chemical fluxes, microbial/viral output?
- Under what conditions do microbes thrive, survive, or die?
- What are the limits to life? chemical? thermal? other?
- How fast do microbial communities evolve/adapt through time and space below the seafloor? above the seafloor? in megaplumes?
- Can microbial communities in plumes be matched to source vents?
- What are the depths below the seafloor from which plumes transport microbes to the seafloor and above during venting?
Megaplumes (or Event Plumes)
- How do megaplumes form? How is heat transferred into the water column fast enough to produce a megaplume?
- Does an eruption have to occur to form a megaplume?
- What is the source of most of the heat in a megaplume?
- What is the source of hyperthermophiles in the plume?
- Does composition of the plume contribute more to the buoyancy flux than the original heat content of the venting fluid?
- Why do megaplumes have such different chemistry from chronically venting plumes (much lower He:heat ratio)?
- What conditions result in megaplumes rising as much as 1000m above the seafloor?
- Do megaplumes and chronic (~ steady state) plumes significantly influence micro-nutrient/macro-nutrient distributions and productivity of ambient water column ecosystems?
- Could input of micronutrients from megaplumes rival surface dust input to the ocean?
- What are the mechanisms of vertical mixing?
- Do all of these effects propagate through the food web?
- Do megaplumes play a role in vent larvae dispersal?
Global Impacts of Eruptive Megaplumes
- What is the frequency of megaplumes globally? What is the variation in the vertical and horizontal extent of megaplumes?
- What are the global impacts of megaplumes and chronic plumes? Are they similar to Mediterranean Eddies in N. Atlantic?
- How long do they persist? What drives translational velocity? (not as strong as Meddies since plumes are much deeper)
- What is total upward heat flux of megaplumes compared to downward heat flux from solar sources?
- Might megaplumes affect the global conveyor belt?
- Are marine mammals attracted to seamounts?
- Do acoustic signatures of eruptions influence the distribution or migration patterns of marine mammals?
Mixing in the Ocean
- Is deep mixing over rough bathymetry significant? How might it interplay with an eruptive plume?
- What is the contribution of megaplume activity to the transport of chemical species away from the ridge?
- Two goals: 1) Census of megaplumes over a mid-ocean ridge for 20 years? 2) Can we quantify effects of bathymetric mixing (w/o megaplume)?
- How can we quantitatively assess all of the impacts of eruptive processes in submarine volcanic systems?
- How can we use the imminent eruption to plan for sampling the next eruption?
- How should we use Axial Observatory to train next-generation scientists and inspire public?