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Long-term eruptive activity at a submarine arc volcano
Embley, R.W.; Chadwick Jr., W.W.; Baker, E.T.; Butterfield, D.A.; Resing, J.A.; De Ronde, C.E.J.; Tunnicliffe, V.; Lupton, J.E.; Juniper, S.K.; Rubin, K.H.; Stern, R.J.; Lebon, G.T.; Nakamura, K.; Merle, S.G.; Hein, J.R.; Wiens, D.A.; Tamura, Y. (2006). Long-term eruptive activity at a submarine arc volcano. Nature (Lond.) 441(7092): 494-497
In: Nature: International Weekly Journal of Science. Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 0028-0836, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 

Keywords
    Submarine volcanoes; Volcanic eruptions; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Embley, R.W.
  • Chadwick Jr., W.W.
  • Baker, E.T.
  • Butterfield, D.A.
  • Resing, J.A.
  • De Ronde, C.E.J.
  • Tunnicliffe, V.
  • Lupton, J.E.
  • Juniper, S.K.
  • Rubin, K.H.
  • Stern, R.J.
  • Lebon, G.T.
  • Nakamura, K.
  • Merle, S.G.
  • Hein, J.R.
  • Wiens, D.A.
  • Tamura, Y.

Abstract
    Three-quarters of the Earth’s volcanic activity is submarine, located mostly along the mid-ocean ridges, with the remainder along intraoceanic arcs and hotspots at depths varying from greater than 4,000m to near the sea surface. Most observations and sampling of submarine eruptions have been indirect, made from surface vessels or made after the fact. We describe here direct observations and sampling of an eruption at a submarine arc volcano named NW Rota-1, located 60km northwest of the island of Rota (Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands). We observed a pulsating plume permeated with droplets of molten sulphur disgorging volcanic ash and lapilli from a 15-m diameter pit in March 2004 and again in October 2005 near the summit of the volcano at a water depth of 555m (depth in 2004). A turbid layer found on the flanks of the volcano (in 2004) at depths from 700mto more than 1,400mwas probably formed by mass-wasting events related to the eruption. Long-term eruptive activity has produced an unusual chemical environment and a very unstable benthic habitat exploited by only a few mobile decapod species. Such conditions are perhaps distinctive of active arc and hotspot volcanoes.

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