Axial Seamount on the Juan de Fuca spreading center is the most magmatically robust volcano on the ridge, having erupted in 1998 and most recently in April 2011. It hosts numerous active hydrothermal fields and abundant sites of diffuse flow and it is one of the best-studied volcanoes along the global midocean ridge spreading center. Axial Volcano magmas contain extremely high carbon dioxide concentrations supporting a robust subseafloor biosphere and it is the only site where there is greater than decade-long time-series data documenting the evolution of microbial communities, and vent fluid chemistry and temperature following submarine volcanic eruptions. The summit of Axial Seamount was significantly transformed during the 2011 eruption with flows reaching nearly 3 km across the floor of the caldera, and > 8 km along the eastern fissure zone.
Questions to be addressed at Axial include: 1) How do hydrothermal systems and associated microbial and macrofaunal communities change in response to magmatic, volcanic and seismic activity; 2) What is the flux of carbon from the seafloor to the hydrosphere, and 3) What is the nature of inflation and deflation events and their correlation with melt migration in the subsurface and release of volatiles into the vent systems? The myriad array of diverse data sets streaming from sensors at the Axial Seamount will provide a strong foundation to study processes at within this dynamic system.
Location: 46°N, 130°W
Approximate Water Depth: 1,500 m at Summit
Description of Infrastructure:
5 Medium-Power J-Boxes:
(link to OOI Cabled Array: Axial Caldera)
Axial Volcano hosts numerous hydrothermal fields and sites of diffuse flow that support dense animal and microbial communities.×