A Community Gathering to Stategize and Plan for the
Upcoming Two Decades of Focus on Axial Volcano Wired
April 20-22, 2015, Seattle, WA
Talaris Conference Center
Please Note: The initial purpose of this website is to support the April 2015 NOVAE (Networked Observations and Visualizations of the Axial Environment) Workshop. Post-workshop this site will evolve and continue as a community and public resource for research and education activities related to Axial Volcano. Workshop participants and other members of the community are invited to participate in the evolution and maintenance of the site.
A Convergence of Conditions = A Historic Opportunity
Axial Volcano on the Juan de Fuca Ridge is behaving restlessly and an eruption is imminent. Evidence comes from data showing that the caldera floor is rising about a half meter a year, much faster than expected, and from seismic data showing a dramatic increase in earthquakes at Axial. These data are coming ashore in real time thanks to an electro-optical network of sensors on and near Axial, a component of the NSF Ocean Observatories Initiative Cabled Array, also known as the Regional Scale Nodes. In support of NSF, the OOI is managed by the OOI Project Office at the Consortium for Ocean Leadership (COL).
Installation of the OOI Cabled Array was completed in autumn 2014. There are now 20+ instruments inside the caldera and two instrumented profiler moorings and seafloor sensors at its base, all connected to the Internet. Data have been flowing to the University of Washington since installation and will be available to the community in late spring 2015 through the OOI Cyberinfrastructure. Publicly available seismic data are now streaming to the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) and as many as 1,000 earthquakes per day have been detected at Axial. (See "An Early Look at the OOI’s Seismic Data from Axial Seamount: Is the Volcano About to Erupt?" in William Wilcock's blog; "Rapid Reinflation Found at Axial Seamount" on the NOAA/PMEL website; and Bill Chadwick's and Scott Nooner's Axial blog. For a continually updated daily histogram of earthquake activity, see Wilcock's blog for "Preliminary Histogram by Day")
This convergence of conditions means that the ocean-ridge community of scientists, educators, and engineers in both industry and academe are in a unique position to utilize this newly installed “Natural Laboratory” to continue identifying novel approaches to long-term, quantitative studies of submarine volcano-hydrothermal systems and their impacts on dynamic overlying marine ecosystems.
Objectives of Gathering: Assess potentials, strategize paths forward, develop Draft Science Plan for community review
A gathering of researchers and educators to strategically explore and define innovative options for the upcoming two decades related to "Wired Axial" will be held April 20–22, 2015 in Seattle. The objective of the meeting is to lay out the paths forward for truly interactive, cross-disciplinary research. The existing sensing system, designed 5 years ago, is utilizing less than 20% of the available bandwidth, which increases opportunities for pursuing bold, next-generation science and education programs associated with an active undersea volcano.
Specific Workshop 2015 goals are the following:
Introduce new scientific and technological developments re’ Mid-Ocean Ridge (MOR) Systems;
Review and update the driving scientific questions and hypotheses specifically related to Axial and generally related to the global impacts of subsea volcanism and hydrothermal systems;
Explore evolving and novel technologies that can be entrained in Axial Studies;
Identify compelling research paths forward over 5, 10, and 20 years;
Capture workshop discussions and conclusions in a science plan for community review.
In many ways this April 2015 workshop on Axial is a follow-on to the 2011 Axial Workshop but with one big, and very important, difference: the OOI cabled system is now installed and operating and sending live data to shore. In the coming years, Axial Volcano Wired will be accessible to all via the Internet and will offer a representative view of the linkages among the physical, chemical, and biological processes operative in most basalt-based submarine ridge-crest environments the world over.
The 2011 Axial workshop was organized by David Butterfield, Bill Chadwick, Julie Huber, and William Wilcock, and was sponsored by NSF and NOAA. Five of the talks presented at the 2011 Axial Workshop were turned into videos and are available for viewing here.
Sponsors of the NOVAE Workshop on the Wired and Restless Volcano
Each of the institutions below has agreed to participate at some level in supporting the NOVAE workshop activity. There is a considerable level of interest across our Community of Ocean and Earth Scientists in exploring innovative uses of the newly installed Cabled Natural Laboratory on Axial Seamount, a Mid-Ocean Ridge Volcano, which is highly active both volcanologically and hydrothermally. We are deeply grateful for this encouragement to develop novel approaches to conducting remote, real-time scientific investigations into system that involves disciplines ranging from mantle dynamics, to magma chamber evolution, to deep and shallow hydrothermal activity, to exotic microbial communities, to eruptive activiry producing seafloor lava flows, to formation of large eruptive plumes (megaplumes) that may impact large volumes of the overlying ocean.