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Contributed By:

Jaymee Cuti

Eruption Predicted!

OPB | Aug. 18, 2011 9:35 a.m. | Updated: Sept. 10, 2013 10:28 p.m.

In 2006 a geologist at Oregon State University said the Axial Seamount underwater volcano, located about 250 miles off the Oregon coast, would erupt before 2014. And it totally did!

The margin of error may seem wide but this was the first time an underwater volcano was successfully predicted.

Geologist Bill Chadwick at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, has been monitoring the site since its last eruption in 1998. He and his team, with the help of a robot-operated vehicle, have been measuring the swell or inflation around the underwater volcano. They reasoned that when it reached about the same level as in the previous eruption — about ten feet — it would blow.

When Chadwick returned to the site on July 28th to take routine measurements, he thought he was lost because the ocean floor had changed. He soon realized that his forecast had come to pass and an entirely new biological community had begun colonizing since the April 6th eruption.

GUEST:

  • Bill Chadwick: Geologist at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center

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